ISLAMABAD: The victim in couple harassment case on Wednesday told the court that she was forced to pursue the case against the suspects who allegedly tortured her and her friend.

The victim who backtracked from allegations against a gang led by Usman Mirza for stripping and torturing them in an E-11 flat last year testified before the Additional District and Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani that she was being pressured repeatedly to pursue the case and she did not know any of the accused.

Parliamentary Secretary for Law Maleeka Bokhari had announced that the state would pursue the Islamabad couple harassment case despite the fact that the victims retracted the allegations.

Prosecutor Rana Hasan Abbas cross-examined the male victim and asked him to narrate the background of the incident.

The victim in a vague reply stated before the court that he could not recollect the detail of the incident and also don’t remember what clothes he was wearing that day.

The court on the request of public prosecutor allowed to play the video of the incident in the courtroom.

Advocate Sher Afzal Khan Marwat, counsel for one of the suspects Bilal Marwat requested the court to replay the footage as he sought to cross-examine the male victim, saying he wanted to see the face of the man. The video was played again at his request.

Meanwhile, the girl told the judge that she was not in the video that was circulated on social media. She said there are seven people of the same face in this world.

She said police had obtained her fingerprints and signatures on a blank paper multiple times.

Her lawyer Arbab Alam Abbas objected to the repeated questions of the defence counsel.

After the cross examination on the victims concluded the court put off further proceeding till Jan 25. The case had surfaced when a video of four persons holding a couple at gunpoint, forcing them to strip and then beating them up had gone viral on social media in July last year.

Initially, an FIR was registered under section 341, 354A and 509 of Pakistan Penal Code. Later, sections pertaining to rape, sexual abuse, extortion, and wrongful confinement were also included in the FIR.

In September, charges were framed against the primary accused, Usman Mirza, and co-accused Hafiz Ataur Rehman, Adaras Qayyum Butt, Rehan, Umar Bilal Marwat, Mohib Bangash and Farhan Shaheen.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2022

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