Minar-i-Pakistan assault case: Police granted 3-day physical remand of 6 suspects identified by TikToker

Published September 6, 2021
In this Aug 21 file photo, suspects in the Minar-i-Pakistan assault case alight from a van to be produced before a judicial magistrate in Lahore. — Murtaza Ali/White Star
In this Aug 21 file photo, suspects in the Minar-i-Pakistan assault case alight from a van to be produced before a judicial magistrate in Lahore. — Murtaza Ali/White Star

A district court in Lahore on Monday remanded six suspects in the Minar-i-Pakistan assault case into physical custody of police for three days.

The suspects, who had previously been identified by the female TikToker during an identification parade, were presented in the court of Judicial Magistrate Hassan Sarfraz Cheema today.

Police requested the magistrate to grant them physical custody of the suspects, with the prosecution lawyer informing the court that the suspects' statements needed to be recorded.

For his part, the suspect's counsel argued they had already been in jail for 28 days.

The magistrate asked the suspects whether they wanted to say something, upon which one of the suspects claimed that "God is witness, [we] are being wronged."

Another suspect said he was a labourer and had been called by police to the station on the basis of geofencing results, following which he was arrested.

"I went [to Minar-i-Pakistan] but I have nothing to do with TikTok," said another suspect.

The judge granted police a three-day physical remand of the suspects and directed that they be produced in the court on Sept 9.

He also directed police to submit a report of the investigation on the six suspects in the next hearing.

More than 100 suspects have been taken into custody in the case so far, 98 of whom were released last week after the TikToker and her team members failed to identify them during an identification parade in the city's Camp Jail.

Assaulted by hundreds

Police had registered a first information report (FIR) against hundreds of unidentified persons for assaulting and stealing from the female TikToker and her companions at the city's Greater Iqbal Park on Independence Day.

According to the FIR, 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 us".

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", in addition to 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.

Police moved into action a few days after the incident when the videos of the assault went viral on social media, sparking outrage.

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