KARACHI: A court sentenced a man to two months in prison for harassing a woman travelling in a rickshaw.

Muhammad Hamza was found guilty of teasing and annoying Zoya while she was travelling in a rickshaw on Sharea Faisal on July 18 this year.

A video of the incident had gone viral on social media sparking public outrage and call for an action against the group of motorcyclists seen teasing and harassing the female rickshaw passenger.

Judicial Magistrate (central) Niaz Hussain Kandhro pronounced his judgement reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

The judge noted that neither the presence of the accused at the time and day of the incident was denied, nor he (accused) refuted the video that went viral on the social media.

Court finds accused guilty on the basis of a viral video in which he was seen harassing a young woman on Sharea Faisal

The judge handed down one-month imprisonment to Hamza for committing an offence punishable under Section 294 (obscene acts and songs) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and also ordered him to pay Rs10,000 fine. In case of default, he would have to undergo an additional imprisonment for one week.

The judge also sentenced him to one month in prison for committing an offence punishable under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the PPC and also ordered to pay Rs10,000 fine.

The judge recalled bail of the convict and sent him to prison to serve out his sentences.

According to the prosecution, the complainant after meeting a friend was going home in a rickshaw on Sharea Faisal when motorcyclist Hamza along with six to seven other motorcyclists started raising voices and shouting.

They also started making obscene acts/signals and kept shouting improper words saying “come and sit on our bikes etc”.

The complainant testified that as she started to record their acts with her mobile phone, some of the bikers went away while two motorcyclists said: “You should show this video to your mother at home”.

“When they saw me recording the video the present accused (Hamza) got annoyed and put his hand on the rickshaw, asking its driver to stop, but the driver did not stop,” she added.

The complainant said that upon reaching near a traffic police post the rickshaw driver stopped upon which the accused escaped. The complainant said after staying there for some time she left the place in the rickshaw and reached her home.

She narrated the entire episode to her family members and also uploaded the videos of the accused on the social media.

She deposed that after two days police officials visited her house and recorded her statement and subsequently an FIR was registered.

State prosecutor Abdul Hafeez Maitlo said the accused was the real culprit, who was clearly visible in the video footage available on the social media.

The prosecutor said after this video went viral on social media the police authorities/law enforcement agencies took legal action against the accused and arrested him after proper inquiry.

He asked the court to punish the accused according to the law.

On the other hand, defence counsel Ali Akhtar contended that his client was innocent and had been framed in the present case. He pleaded the court to acquit the accused.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2021

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