Real culprits of Lahore motorway gang-rape identified: CM Buzdar

Punjab police have made a major headway in the Lahore motorway gang-rape case as they claimed to have identified two accused involved in the horrific act.

Punjab IGP Inam Ghani, in a news conference alongside Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Saturday, said that prime accused, Abid Ali has been identified through DNA profiling while his accomplice is identified as Waqarul Hassan Shah.

“The prime accused Abid Ali was hiding in a small village near Sheikhpura and when he came to know about the police team he changed his location,” the Punjab police chief said, adding that one of the family member of Abid has been taken into custody.

He said his accomplice, Waqarul Hassan Shah was identified through geo-fencing and the complete information about the culprits has been acquired by the police.

“We are utilising all our resources and taking assistance from other intelligence agencies as well and the accused will soon be arrested,” he assured the media.

Punjab police have taken over the area of 91km where the incident happened on the directions of the chief minister for patrolling and maintaining law and order, said Ghani.

Abid, son of Akbar Ali, is a habitual offender and is a resident of Fort Abbas, a small village in Punjab’s Bahawalnagar, according to his profile.

The 27-year old Ali’s DNA matched with the victim as the police sources said the accused’s profile was already available with the police officials since 2013 due to his criminal record.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Buzdar appreciated efforts of the police officials, saying: “Police reached to the real culprits in less than 72 hours”.

He also assured that the accused will soon be taken to task and will be punished as per the law.

On Lahore CCPO Umer Shaikh’s controversial remarks blaming victim for the incident, CM Buzdar lamented that the irrelevant statement was made.

“He [CCPO Lahore] has been issued show-cause notice by the Punjab police chief and appropriate action will be taken against him after his official reply,” he added.

Sources had earlier told The Express Tribune that both the accused were involved in serious offences including rape and robbery adding that Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) was carrying out raids for their arrest.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aide Shahbaz Gill also shared the same information in a tweet earlier in the day. Gill congratulated the Punjab chief minister and top police officials for the major headway in the case.

His tweet came hours after, Punjab’s top police official clarified that no arrests have yet been made in the Lahore motorway gang-rape case and the news of the development is “false and contradicted facts”.

According to the profile, 27-year old Ali is a wanted criminal and his date of birth is May 23, 1993.

On Friday, authorities decided to go for the DNA census of the population of the nearby villages after failure of the investigations wing of the Lahore police in arresting the accused involved in the brutal sexual assault on a woman in front of her children during robbery in Gujjarpura three days ago.

This is the third high profile case in which the Punjab police went for DNA census after failing to rely on its investigations capacity. Previously, it happened in Zainab murder case in Kasur and Chunia serial killing case after sodomy.

On Thursday night, Inam Ghani, the Inspector General of the Punjab Police, formed a six members committee, headed by Deputy Inspector General Investigations, Lahore, Shahzada Sultan, to investigate the gage rape on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway.

The other members of the committee included SSP Investigations, Lahore, Zeeshan Asghar, RO Special Branch, Lahore, Jahanzeb Nazir, RO CTD, Lahore, Naseeb Ullah Khan, SP CIA, Lahore, Asim Iftikhar and in charge anti-gender crime cell, Civil Lines, Fiza Azam.

The top police brass had deputed over two-dozen investigation teams to get hold of the accused. DIG Investigations of Lahore police Sahibzada Shahzada Sultan said that all the available resources had been used to solve the case.

Police had accessed CCTV footages, CDR analysis, geo-fencing, arrest of history-sheeters to trace the suspects. The teams of Special Branch, CTD and other investigation agencies had also been employed for the purpose.