Rape co-suspect courts arrest, seeks DNA test

Updated 14 Sep 2020

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Protesters gather at the National Press Club in Islamabad on Sept 12 to demand justice for the motorway gang-rape victim. — Photo courtesy Aurat March Islamabad Twitter
Protesters gather at the National Press Club in Islamabad on Sept 12 to demand justice for the motorway gang-rape victim. — Photo courtesy Aurat March Islamabad Twitter

LAHORE: Surrendering himself to the police on Sunday, one of the suspects the authorities believed was involved in the motorway gang-rape case refuted his involvement or any association with the prime suspect.

Waqarul Hassan approached the Model Town Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) Deputy Superintendent of Police Hasnain Haider and courted arrest while claiming his innocence with a request for his DNA test to corroborate his claim.

On Wednesday night, two robbers on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway had gang-raped a mother of two in an area falling within the Gujjarpura police jurisdiction.

Says his SIM being used by his brother-in-law

Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani while addressing a high-profile press conference on Saturday had disclosed the identity of the two suspected rapists as Abid Ali from the Fort Abbas area of Bahawalnagar and Waqarul Hassan of Qila Sattar Shah from Sheikhupura district. Their photos were made public along with the announcement of Rs2.5 million reward money for information leading to their capture.

Abid Ali is still at large and police teams are conducting raids to apprehend him.

Father of six, Waqar told the police that he was a motorcycle mechanic and had to visit Lahore frequently to buy spare parts. Police sources said the suspect claimed that he had nothing to do with the gang-rape and Abid’s other criminal activities. The suspect also claimed that his brother-in-law, Abbas, who was using his mobile phone SIM, had some links with the main accused. He believed his brother-in-law would also surrender himself to police.

Police sources said Waqar was taken into custody for further investigation and his DNA test would be conducted soon.

Lahore DIG Investigation Shahzada Sultan and SSP Investigation Zeeshan Asghar were not available for comment.

A spokesperson for the Sheikhupura police told Geo TV they did not have any past criminal record of Waqarul Hassan.

IGP Ghani had told the presser that both the suspects were identified after police conducted geo-fencing of the entire area and collected fingerprints and DNA samples. The police chief said the DNA database had led to identification of the suspect Abid, as he was previously involved in another rape case, while geo-fencing of the area indicated that Waqar had accompanied him.

He said police had gathered Abid’s criminal record and learnt that four mobile phone SIMs were registered in his name that he had used in the past, but all those SIMs were currently inactive. He said another phone number was tracked leading the police to conclude that Waqar was Abid’s accomplice.

However, Waqar’s elder brother Shabbir told Geo TV that his brother was not involved in any crime. He said a large police contingent had conducted raids on their house on Saturday afternoon and drove away with their elder brother, Tanvir Hussain, and his son. He claimed Waqar was not home when the police raided as he had gone to a nearby area.

Waqar courted arrest after their family members suffered torture by police, Shabbir alleged.

While replying to a query about Abid, Shabbir said they did not know Abid. He said Waqar’s brother-in-law Abbas was using a SIM registered in his name, but they were unaware whether he had any contact with Abid or not.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2020