Minar-i-Pakistan assault case: Police arrest 8 suspects, including victim's associate

Published October 8, 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 claimed on Friday to have arrested eight suspects on charges of assaulting a female TikToker, Ayesha Akram, and her team at Lahore's Greater Iqbal Park on Independence Day.

According to Lahore Investigation DIG Shariq Jamal Khan, the recent arrests have been made on the basis of a supplementary statement submitted by Akram in writing.

In an earlier development, police had released 98 suspects after Akram and her companions had failed to identify them during an identity parade.

In her recent statement, Akram nominated 13 suspects, including her associate Amir Sohail alias Rambo, who had accompanied her to Greater Iqbal Park on the day of the incident. Sohail is among the eight arrested suspects.

She held Sohail responsible for the incident, in which she and her companions were harassed and assaulted by a large crowd.

Akram told police that Sohail had planned the incident, further accusing him and some of his companions of recording her obscene videos. She said Sohail had been using those videos to blackmail her and had extorted Rs1 million from her till now.

"I have been giving half of my salary to him," she said, adding that Sohail, along with one of his partners, Badshah, had been running a "TikTok gang".

DIG Khan assured that the remaining suspects would be arrested soon and that further investigation into the case would be carried out according to the law.

The case

The case had surfaced when a video of a crowd of men harassing and assaulting Akram and her companions had gone viral.

The footage showed the attackers laughing at Akram and using abusive language. The offenders had surrounded around her, ripped her clothes off and groped her. Though a few men were trying to rescue her, the crowd of offenders was so large that she was struggling helplessly to avoid attacks, the footage showed.

Subsequently, Lahore police had registered a case against hundreds of unidentified persons for assaulting and stealing from Akram.

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 had made a lot of effort to escape from the crowd. Observing the situation, the park's security guard had 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.

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