Police commandos escort a vehicle carrying the suspect in the gang-rape case as they leave the court 
premises.—M Arif/White Star
Police commandos escort a vehicle carrying the suspect in the gang-rape case as they leave the court premises.—M Arif/White Star

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday allowed police to shift the prime suspect in the Lahore-Sialkot motorway gang-rape case to jail for his identification parade.

Police had arrested Abid Malhi in Manga Mandi on Monday.

Malhi and co-suspect Shafqat Ali alias Bagga, already on judicial remand, were produced before the ATC amid strict security, with their faces muffled.

Investigating Officer (IO) Inspector Zulfiqar Ali filed an application in the court seeking permission to shift the prime suspect to the judicial lock-up for the identification parade.

LHC suspends Pemra ban on media coverage of the incident

Presiding Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta allowed the police to shift the suspect to the judicial lock-up for 14 days and directed the jail authorities to make special arrangements so that the identity of the suspect could not be disclosed to other inmates. The judge also directed the IO to submit a report on Oct 27 after concluding the proceedings of the identification parade.

The IO also sought a 30-day physical remand of co-suspect Shafqat for the purpose of recovery of weapon of the offence and interrogation.

However, the judge allowed only a 15-day physical remand of the co-suspect and directed the police to produce him again on Oct 28.

Pemra notification suspended

The Lahore High Court on Tuesday suspended a notification of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) regarding a ban on the coverage of the motorway gang-rape incident in the media.

A two-judge LHC bench comprising Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan and Justice Shakilur Rehman Khan issued the order on a petition filed by a local television channel, Roz News.

Advocate Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, contended that the ban was in clear violation of Article 19 of the Constitution, which guaranteed freedom of speech and the press.

The chief justice observed that the right to information could not be usurped. He also questioned the media coverage of ministers’ press conferences on the gang-rape incident and summoned the record from Pemra.

The bench suspended the impugned notification of Pemra, but directed the media to not show pictures of the suspects and the complainant.

Pemra had on Oct 2 put the impugned ban in compliance with an order passed by an anti-terrorism court on an application filed by the officer investigating the gang-rape incident.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2020