Police suspect arrested men in couple harassment case part of gang

Published July 9, 2021
This photo shows Usman Mirza, one of the suspects in the case. — Photo provided by Shakeel Qarar/File
This photo shows Usman Mirza, one of the suspects in the case. — Photo provided by Shakeel Qarar/File

ISLAMABAD: Police officials investigating the couple harassment case on Thursday said there was a possibility that the arrested suspects were part of a gang involved in organised crime.

So far the police have arrested four persons who were seen in a video viral on social media holding a couple at gunpoint, forcing them to strip and then beating them up.

The officials said scores of similar videos were recovered from the mobile phones of the suspects and these were being examined to identify people abused by them. Preliminary investigations and videos retrieved from mobile phones of the suspects showed that it was not the first incident in the locality. Dozens of similar incidents had occurred in different residential areas of the area.

A few of the incidents were brought in the knowledge of the police but no action was taken, they said. The modus operandi of the suspects suggested that it was organised crime, the officials said, adding the suspects were property and car dealers and had purchased flats in the area.

They rented out the flats for a day or even a short period. The suspects then targeted couples who hired the flats and abused them besides making videos of them. They then started blackmailing the couples. Separate teams were constituted to gather more information and evidence in this regard.

Meanwhile, one of the suspects — Usman Abrar — in a video message claimed that he would be free within 20 days. He said the motive behind making the video was to inform his friends that he would not be available for the next few days due a case registered against him.

He said some people who could not compete with him had got the case registered against him.

“I have been arrested and may be our bail would be canceled that’s why my mobile phone would remain switched off for the next 15 to 20 days,” he said in the video message.

Commenting on the video, a police officer said the context of the video suggested that it was made after the arrest. The suspect made the video in police custody and shared it with others, he added. Senior police officers scolded their juniors for allowing the suspect to make the video and ordered an inquiry.

However, when contacted, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Qazi Jameelur Rehman said it was an old video of the suspect about a previous case.

In a late night development, the SSP investigation through a video message announced that the couple had got married. He made the announcement after visiting the couple with other police officers, including a female ASP. The police officials assured the couple that they would be provided security. He said the couple had agreed to become complainants in the case.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2021

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