Punjab information minister Fayyaz-ul-Hasan Chohan on Thursday announced that the Lahore motorway gang-rape victim has identified both perpetrators of the crime.
“The lady has identified both Abid and Shafqat,” Chohan told a press conference in Lahore.
“It was due to Waqar-ul-Hasan’s arrest that we were able to reach Shafqat,” he added.
Abid Ali, the prime suspect in the case, remains at large, while Shafqat Ali was arrested on Monday for his alleged involvement in the case.
The next day, he was remanded into police custody for 14 days by an accountability court.
The incident has drawn nationwide condemnation from human rights activists, politicians and the public in general over a lack of safety over the route as well as the attitude of the lead investigator, Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Sheikh.
Sheikh had blamed the victim for going through the route that she chose and said that she should have checked her petrol tank before getting on the said route. He was served a show-cause notice by the Punjab government for what the chief minister termed an “irrelevant” statement.
There have also been protests across the country calling for extreme punishments for rapists.
Furthermore, the incident has laid bare the “failed” police patrolling system of the province, as observed by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan.
The two suspects had allegedly robbed and gang-raped a woman in front of her children on September 9 in an area falling within Gujjarpura police station’s jurisdiction.
The woman was driving to Gujranwala along with her two children when she was forced to stop at around 1:30am at the Gujjarpura section of the motorway after reportedly running out of fuel.
She immediately called a relative and sent him her location. He asked her to dial the Motorway Police helpline 130 in the meanwhile.
In the meantime, the 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.