Minar-i-Pakistan assault case: 10 more suspects arrested, sent for identification parades to jail

Published August 21, 2021
This screengrab shows a female TikToker being assaulted on August 14 when hundreds of youngsters were celebrating Independence Day near Minar-i-Pakistan. — Twitter screengrab/File
This screengrab shows a female TikToker being assaulted on August 14 when hundreds of youngsters were celebrating Independence Day near Minar-i-Pakistan. — Twitter screengrab/File

Lahore police arrested 10 more suspects in the Minar-i-Pakistan assault case on Saturday, a day after 30 suspects were held in connection with the incident, raising the total number of arrests made in the case so far to 40.

The suspects were presented before judicial magistrate Abbas Rasool Warraich in a local court, which issued directives for them to be taken to jail for identification parades.

The court directed the jail superintendent to complete the identification parades at the earliest.

The investigation officer said the suspects would again be presented before the court after the identification parades so that their physical remand could be sought.

Bail granted

Meanwhile, another suspect emerged in connection with the incident after he filed a petition in a sessions court in Lahore for pre-arrest bail which was subsequently granted.

In the petition, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the suspect, Shehroz Saeed, maintained that he had been named in the first-information report (FIR) for harassing a female TikToker and her companions at Lahore's Greater Iqbal Park on Independence Day on the basis of "mala fide intention".

He further claimed in the petition that he had been booked in the case because of an "ulterior motive" to "humiliate and harass".

Saeed further stated that he had not committed the offence he had been accused of and the allegations levelled against him were "totally false, baseless and concocted".

He said he had been booked so that he could be blackmailed in "connivance with the local police".

"The intended arrest of the petitioner is tainted with the male fide [intention] of the local police," he stated.

Moreover, he expressed his willingness to join the case's investigation as and when required by the police, adding that no "incriminating material" was available to connect him to the accusation made against him.

Saeed appeared before additional sessions judge Muhammad Saeed on Saturday with the plea for bail, fearing his arrest.

The judge granted the petitioner pre-arrest bail till September 3 and sought the case record from the police.

The FIR

Lahore police had registered a case against hundreds of unidentified persons, including Saeed, on Tuesday for assaulting and stealing from a female TikToker and her companions at the city's Greater Iqbal Park.

In the FIR registered at the Lorry Adda police station, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the complainant stated that she, along with six companions, was filming a video near Minar-i-Pakistan on Independence Day when around 300 to 400 people "attacked" them.

She said that she and her companions made a lot of effort to escape from the crowd. Observing the situation, the park's security guard opened the gate to the enclosure around Minar-i-Pakistan, the FIR quoted her as saying.

"However, the crowd was huge and people were scaling the enclosure and coming towards us. People were pushing and pulling me to the extent that they tore my clothes. Several people tried to help me but the crowd was too huge and they kept throwing me in the air," she said.

She further stated that her companions were also assaulted. During the struggle, her ring and earrings were "forcibly taken", besides a mobile phone of one of her companions, his identity card and Rs15,000 that he had on his person.

"The unidentified persons assaulted us violently," the complainant added.

The FIR was registered under sections 354 A (assault or use of criminal force against woman and stripping her of her clothes), 382 (theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint in order to commit the theft), 147 (rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The incident had drawn the authorities attention after videos of the episode went viral and sparked outrage on social media.

Yesterday (Friday), Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzfar had chaired a meeting on the incident, following which the provincial police chief said senior police officers were suspended for negligence and delayed response in dealing with the incident.

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