TOBA TEK SINGH: In a surprising development, a DNA test report of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) laboratory in the Maria murder case received by Toba Saddar shows that the girl was neither raped nor was she pregnant as it was alleged earlier.

Maria was murdered by her father Abdul Sattar and brother Faisal at Chak 477-JB Allowal on March 17. Her body was exhumed for autopsy on March 28 after a video of the crime went viral on social media and received large-scale outcry.

The main accused, Faisal, had admitted in his statement on camera recorded by media persons in police custody on March 31, a day after his arrest, that he had raped and strangled his sister to hide his incest with her.

However, after this new development and PFSA report, police have now mentioned in the FIR and challan of the case that the girl was murdered by her father and brother in the name of honour and the FIR previously registered under sections 302, 34 and 201 of the PPC had been amended and Section 311 (honour killing) had also been inducted in it.

Earlier, the police officials involved in investigation had said that both the suspects had raped the girl and they strangled her to hide their incest as she was four months pregnant. The DNA report denies any pregnancy.

A police officer confirmed that the viral video in which Faisal was seen strangling his sister was proven in the forensic analysis. Both the accused were in the district jail on 14 days judicial remand.

Faisal’s brother Shahbaz and his wife Sumaira are also in jail in a separate case on the charge of hiding the murder from police. They had told the police that Maria had told them a day before her killing that Faisal and their father, Abdul Sattar, had raped her. Shahbaz had claimed that he had secretly made video of murder by pretending to be talking to his other sister, Kausar, on the phone.

Due to Faisal’s on-camera statement recorded in custody, police had booked a senior journalist, Rana Khalid Mahmood, and his cameraman, Ali Ahmad, for unlawfully recording an interview of the suspect and posting it on social media.

Senior lawyer and former vice president of Lahore High Court Bar Association Mian Muhammad Aslam told this correspondent that Maria was murdered on March 17 and buried on March 18 but her body was exhumed about two weeks after her murder. He said so many days after the incident, it was impossible to confirm through swabs in the forensic test by the PFSA whether she was raped or not as most parts of dead bodies would decay in so many days.

GAS THEFT: The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) got a case registered against three persons for pilfering gas at Gojra.

The pilferage was detected by an anti-theft squad of SNGPL on Friday.

SNGPL Foreman Rafiqur Rehman said in the FIR registered by Gojra Sadar police that the suspects -- Abdul Ghaffar, Yasir and Arshad -- had been pilfering gas through illegal connections from the main line without meters.

Police are conducting raids to arrest the suspects who had fled after detection of gas theft.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2024

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