A special antiterrorism court in Lahore on Wednesday sentenced a cyberstalker to 24 years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs0.7 million for blackmailing scores of women and extorting money from them, many of whom were lady doctors.
Abdul Wahab, a resident of Punjab's Layyah district, was arrested in 2015 from Naran after the scam surfaced that nearly 200 women, including lady doctors and nurses of some government teaching hospitals of Lahore, had been harassed or blackmailed by him. Subsequently, Gawal Mandi police station in Lahore registered a case against him.
It was later revealed that most of the victims were house officers and postgraduate trainees from King Edward Medical University, Fatima Jinnah Medical University and Children Hospital, Lahore.
The convict used to introduce himself as an official of the "military intelligence", said Dr Salman, on whose complaint the case was registered. Later, he was arrested on allegations of hacking the Whatsapp accounts of lady doctors, blackmailing them with "objectionable video clips and photos" and then extorting money from them.
During the trial, 31 witnesses recorded their statements as state counsel Abdul Rauf Wattoo presented arguments from the prosecution side.
The defendant's lawyer claimed that "a false case had been registered against his client and pleaded before the court to issue orders for his acquittal".
After listening to final arguments from both sides, Judge Sajjad Ahmad sentenced the man to a total of 24 years in prison along with a fine of Rs0.7 million.
The charges against him, according to the order sheet, are as under:
Convicted under Section 7(1)(h) of the Antiterrorism Act, 1997, and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 14 years, along with a fine of Rs0.5 million. In case of default, he shall further undergo six months of simple imprisonment.
Convicted under Section 419 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for seven years, along with a fine of Rs0.1 million. In case of failure to pay the amount, he shall further undergo three months of simple imprisonment.
Convicted under Section 25-D of the Telegraphic Act and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for three years, along with a fine of Rs0.1 million. In the event he does not pay the fine, he shall further undergo three months of simple imprisonment.
The convict shall serve his sentence in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail.