October 14th, 2020
By Rehan Piracha
The father of the main suspect in the Lahore motorway gang rape case has claimed that his daughters were illegally detained by the police. Ultimately, he said, the police had not been efficient enough to nab Abid Malhi. Instead, he had surrendered himself.
In a video message that surfaced on October 13, Akbar Ali’s father of the accused rapist says his son is a resident of Sattar Shah locality in Manga Mandi. He says he knew nothing about the gang-rape incident, adding that his son fled when the police had come to arrest him. In the video message, Akbar says that Abid had called him after a month and had expressed his wish to finally surrender.
“I then told him to meet me at 6.30 pm in Manga Mandi. Abid came to me and I called the police to inform them that Abid will be surrendering before them,” said Akbar in the video. Akbar says that he asked a local notable Khalid Butt to take Abid to the police as he himself was an old and disabled man. He says Khalid Butt took Abid in his car to the police so that he could surrender.
Akbar then goes on to say that his daughters have been detained by the police in two separate locations Manga Mandi and Rukha Wali. He pleads with authorities in his video, to release his daughters from custody.
Meanwhile, news channels reported that the Model Town CIA police have released all seven members including women from its custody after the arrest of Abid Malhi. The CIA police clarified that no family members of the accused Abid Malhi were under their detention.
Family members detention illegal
According to Shabbir Hussain, a lawyer of the Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell (AGHS), police cannot detain family members of a suspect. Police can summon anybody for questioning with regard to the investigation of a case but it would be illegal to detain them, says Hussain.
“If the police suspect an accused is hiding in premises, police officials are bound to get a search warrant from a magistrate,” Hussain says. “The culture of detaining family members is a vestige of policing under the British Raj. Police have continued with this illegal practice because it is often the easiest and most cost-effective option in nabbing suspects.” Hussain says Abid Malhi’s father can file a private complaint with a magistrate about the illegal detention of his daughters.