Lahore motorway gang-rape: One of two suspects surrenders, other still at large

LAHORE: One of the two suspects in the motorway gang rape case on Sunday surrendered before the police, denying involvement in a highway incident that has angered the entire nation and sparked protests across Pakistan.

Geo News reported citing sources that Waqarul Hassan surrendered to the Lahore police today at the Model Town police station under pressure from his relatives and told the investigators that he was not involved in the motorway case.

However, the key suspect the government of Punjab had identified on Saturday, Abid Ali, is still at large and police teams were conducting raids at different locations to apprehend him.

Waqar claimed that his brother-in-law, Abbas, was using his mobile phone.

“Abbas refused to surrender himself with me but he may do soon. He was involved in some criminal activities with Abid Ali and is still in contact with him,” Waqar reportedly told police.

Claiming innocence in the gang rape, he asked the officials to get his DNA test done.

Rs2.5 million reward

On Saturday, Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar had announced a reward of Rs2.5 million for each of the suspects if information leading to their arrest is shared. He said that the identity of those bringing forward any information will be kept confidential.

“We worked day and night and launched a probe using scientific techniques. I personally monitored the progress and directed the completion of the probe expediently,” Buzdar had said.

According to the chief minister, seven cases — including two gang-rape cases — were registered against Abid, while two robbery cases were filed against Waqar who was released 14 days earlier on bail.

Buzdar said that the culprits will be given exemplary punishment for the heinous crime.

While briefing the media about how the police identified the suspects, Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani had said, “Geo-fencing of the entire area was carried out, data was taken from the Election Commission of Pakistan, fingerprints were taken from the site, and DNA tests were conducted”.

IGP Ghani said that after the police went through the records they had gathered they got to know that Abid Ali had four sims registered in his name that he used on several occasions. All of the sims, however, were currently non-functional.

“Ultimately, we tracked down another number — that was not registered to his name — and it proved our suspicions right. Through this number, we were able to reach his partner as well,” he said.

The Punjab police chief added: “We are 95% sure that [the person we have tracked down] is his partner as his phone signals were traced to the location of the crime [at the time of the incident].”

The incident

On Wednesday night, it was reported that two robbers had allegedly gang-raped a mother of two on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway in an area falling within Gujjarpura police’s jurisdiction.

The woman, along with her two children, was driving to Gujranwala when she was forced to stop at the Gujjarpura section of the motorway after running out of fuel, at around 1:30am.

She immediately called a relative and sent him her location. He asked her to also dial the Motorway Police helpline 130 from which she reportedly received no response.

In the meantime, two robbers reportedly approached the car, broke the window, and took the woman and her children to nearby bushes where they allegedly raped her in front of the children.

They also allegedly snatched her purse carrying Rs100,000 in cash, one bracelet, car registration papers, and three ATM cards.

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