A day after the bodies of a mother and daughter duo were found hanging at their home in Khanewal in what police suspect is actually a double murder case, the deceased's relatives blocked the National Highway for more than six hours on Tuesday.
The women, according to police, were allegedly strangled to death before their bodies were hung to make it seem as if they had committed suicide.
The murders occurred a day after the daughter was allegedly abducted and raped by a neighbour, who has since been arrested by the police.
"The true facts of the case will emerge after the results of the medical report are released," said District Police Officer (DPO) Khanewal Rana Masoom.
DPO Masoom said that the nature of the death, whether it was a murder or a suicide, can only be determined after a thorough investigation takes place, which is currently underway. "We have, however, registered a case against the prime accused and arrested him a day earlier," he added.
The victims' heirs say that the 19-year-old girl had been abducted between Saturday and Sunday, at around midnight, and brutally raped by the accused.
According to an FIR registered on the complaint of the girl's brother, the suspect, who belongs to an influential family, kidnapped the victim as she left her home. After being raped, the girl was dumped outside her home.
The girl's father said that the family was in a fix over whether or not to report the crimes, as death threats had been issued by the suspect.
"Poverty and helplessness forced us to remain quiet in the beginning," he said, adding that "after further consultations with family members, we decided to report the incident".
DPO Masoom said that two cases have been registered against the suspect. "One case has been registered on behalf of the state at the Sarai Sidhu police station for the murder of the two women. Another case has been registered on the complaint of the girl's brother for her abduction and rape."
The suspect has been charged under Section 376 (punishment for rape) and Section 302 (punishment of qatl-i-amd) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
When the deceased's bodies were handed over to their relatives today after a post-mortem examination, a protest broke out on the national highway where hundreds of demonstrators gathered to block the roads and demand justice.
The bodies of the victims lay on the road as the crowd continued to protest well into the evening. The protest came to an end after reassurances were given to the relatives by the DPO.