PESHAWAR: The prime accused in the DI Khan girl stripping case has been arrested, the police told the Peshawar High Court on Wednesday.
The hearing into the case was adjourned by a bench consisting of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Ahmad Ali as the latter recused himself from hearing the matter saying he remained a counsel for the victim in the case, so it won’t be appropriate for him to be part of the bench.
Deputy Inspector General, DI Khan Range, Syed Imtiaz Shah and District Police Officer Dilawar Khan showed up on the court’s orders and claimed that the police had arrested the prime accused in the case, Sajawal, and was interrogating him.
Contrary to the claim, the media reports suggest that the prime accused had surrendered recently after remaining in hiding for two years.
The high court issued repeated orders to the police to trace him.
Judge recuses himself from hearing
A high court bench had disposed of a petition filed by the alleged victim of stripping on Nov 22, 2017, asking the provincial police chief to submit the case progress report to the court’s Human Rights Cell on a regular basis for the chief justice’s examination.
In the petition, the girl had requested the court to order her protection, recovery of the stripping video and the arrest of the prime accused.
The high court heard the case from time to time and issued directives to the police.
Until last month, eight of the nine accused were arrested.
During the last hearing on Oct 24, a bench was informed by the concerned DSP that the computerised national identity card of the prime accused had already been blocked by Nadra, while his name had been placed on the Exit Control List.
Additional advocate general Mohiuddin Humayun requested the court to exempt the two police officers from appearing before it in future following the arrest of the prime accused.
Accepting the plea, the bench asked those officers not to show up on the next hearing.
It also ordered the fixing of the case before a bench not having Justice Ahmad Ali as member.
The girl had claimed that the prime suspect had accused her brother around two years ago of handing over a mobile phone to a female member of his (accused’s) family and that her brother denied it on oath, the panchayat (jirga) ordered him to pay Rs300,000 fine to the accused’s family.
She added that Sajawal and other accused paraded her naked in the village on Oct 27, 2017.
In a statement recorded with the magistrate, she had claimed that she had gone to a pond in the morning along with some other women to fetch water and as they’re returning, the nine accused ripped her clothes apart and when the other women tried to cover her, the accused threw the shawl away.
The girl said initially, the police didn’t cooperate with his family on the matter and even refused to register an FIR but later, they did so after the villagers demonstrated.
Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2019