Rights Watch | October 14th 2020

-Motorway incident prime accused Abid sent by ATC on judicial remand for 14 days -Man strangles wife to death in Sindh -Police nab father & 2 brothers of a young woman in connection with her murder some 6 months ago


Motorway incident accused on remand

On Tuesday, October 13, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) sent Abid Malhi, prime accused in the Lahore-Sialkot motorway gang-rape incident, has been sent on a fourteen-day judicial remand for an identity parade. Abid was not nominated by name in the initial FIR, however, co-accused Shafqat (who was arrested on September 15) named Abid as his accomplice and the prime suspect.

A DNA test confirmed Abid as one of the two accused in the incident after his DNA matched with samples recovered from the crime scene and the rape survivor. Co-accused Shafqat was also brought produced before court after the completion of his judicial remand, however, it was learned that he was yet to undergo an identification parade.

The police managed to track Abid by monitoring his cellular data after managing to avoid arrest for 33 days. Shafqat has apprehended from his sister’s house in Depalpur in district Okara five days after the incident.

Abid and Shafqat had been in contact before and after the gang-rape incident. In his statement to the police, Shafqat claimed that Abid had first raped the woman and then pressured him to do the same. They were still at the crime scene when the Dolphin personnel arrived and only fled into the Karol forest when the police fired warning shots. They then sought refuge in Abid’s Sheikhpura home.

Wife strangled to death by husband in Sindh

One Mir Magsi of Bhanri Ji Wandh village near Shahdadkot, Sindh, strangled to death his wife, Rubina, before fleeing. The suspect’s whereabouts are currently unknown, while police have launched a manhunt for the absconder.

Woman’s killers arrested after 6 months

Police arrested 24-year-old Javeria’s father and two brothers in connection to her brutal torture and murder. The young woman, a resident of Muzaffarabad, was discovered in a burlap sack in some fields in Baghbanpura, Punjab, some six months ago. Her body bore torture marks.

Farmers severely impacted by COVID-19

A June 2020 report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) found that the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the livelihoods of farmers in Sindh. The findings were based on the responses collected from around 400 farmers. Over half the respondents reported lowered food consumption and a third of them reported lower earnings.

Most of the farmers cited that the biggest challenge was the inability to travel to markets and cities, as well as the unavailability of traders to purchase crops. However, the market disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and its related policy measures were temporary and posited that locust swarms require immediate and effective action to help mitigate the damage that has already been done, as well as to help farmers prepare for future locust swarms.

Pandemic policies had severely affected farmers cultivating commercial crops, food crops, and dairy producers. The rates of unavailability of labor were higher in lower Sindh than in upper Sindh. When asked to state their major wheat buyers, the farmers said that they mainly sold their harvest in open markets.

Overall, about 87% of farmers reported an increase in the cost of their agricultural inputs due to the pandemic; these inputs being fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, and diesel fuel and machinery for some.