August 24th, 2021
By Hamid Riaz & Ahmed Saeed
After the chilling gang-rape incident of a woman and her daughter on Sunday, August 22, the Punjab Police have finally arrested both the suspects involved. Both the woman and her daughter had been travelling from Mailsi, Vihari, to Lahore and had unknowingly flagged down the rickshaw which was being driven by the accused, and asked him to take them to her relative’s house in Saddar, Cantt. However, the rickshaw driver went in the opposite direction and he and another man who was also present in the front seat of the rickshaw parked in a dark space and raped them both.
Police were able to trace the suspects using the registration plate of the rickshaw that had been abandoned at the scene of the crime. The main accused Umar has a long history of committing sexual offenses and is currently out on bail in an older rape case registered against him after spending just 10 months in prison.
According to recent updates, both the culprits have now been sent under judicial remand for an identification parade. According to police sources, a medico-legal test of both the rape survivors have confirmed violent sexual assault. Meanwhile, mother and daughter are in ‘safe hands, and are undergoing treatment for their injuries, according to a close relative, who spoke to Voicepk.net on condition of anonymity.
Voicepk.net made multiple visits to the scene of crime and was able to track down the sole witness of the incident. Abbas Jatt, a private contractor working at a local construction project. Abbas Jatt revisited the scene of the crime and recalled the horrific night.
“It was about 11:30 PM and I was on my way back to the construction side when all of a sudden I noticed a rickshaw parked in an empty plot,” he explained. According to Jatt, the entire area is sparsely populated with only a limited amount of traffic even in the light of day, and as such finding a rickshaw parked in the middle of nowhere put questions in my head. He said he moved his car a little closer to the spot and immediately noticed something was wrong.
“I called for my fellow workers and began slowly moving my car closer to the rickshaw,” said Abbas. “Upon hearing the commotion, the perpetrators abandoned their rickshaw and ran away. Before I knew it, I saw the mother and daughter rushing towards me begging for my help,” the eyewitness continued, adding that their condition was beyond words. “The moment the suspects realized that I was not going to back down they decided to abandon their Rikshaw and flee from the scene of the crime. This very Rikshaw aided the police in their capture, a day later,” explains Abbas proud of being able to help track the culprits.
The noise alerted nearby residents and students from a seminary nearby who gathered at the crime scene. The rape survivors were provided clothes by the seminary students. “I had heard the woman was a heart patient,” Jatt told Voicepk. “She eventually passed out from shock. The police arrived within 20 to 30 minutes and did what they had to do. After about two hours, a relative of the victims also arrived at the scene and took over the situation,” says Jatt. The unconscious mother had to be carried into a police van – both survivors were taken to Jinnah Hospital for treatment.
The incident has shaken him thoroughly.
“I do not have the words to explain what I went through when I saw the condition of the two women,” he said. “I have never been so shocked in my entire life.” He has vowed to fully cooperate with the prosecution to bring the rapists to justice.
The increasing tide of violence against women
After the Minar-e-Pakistan and Rickshaw harassment case, both of which took place on August 14, the public has been shocked by the mother-daughter gang-rape case as yet another depraved act of violence against women in the past few weeks alone.
On Saturday, an alliance of civil society and women’s rights organizations demonstrated against the increasing tide of sexual crimes against women.
“In the last month alone we have seen the Noor Mukadam, Quratulain ‘Annie’ and the Minar-e-Pakistan incidents. All the while entitled abusers like Usman Mirza and Khadija Siddiqui’s attacker are allowed to roam free,” says Dr. Alia Haider, the organizer of the protest, while highlighting the environment of impunity which facilitates such incidents in the country.
Yet despite the horrific nature of these crimes, there is a cohort of men on social media who are still intent on blaming the victim for the crimes perpetrated against them – something vehemently decried by women’s rights activists.