State to pursue Usman Mirza case: Maleeka Bokhari

Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari tweeted on Wednesday, January 12, that the State will pursue prosecution in the Usman Mirza case after the victims rescinded their complaint against the accused.

A day earlier, the female victim submitted her written statement to the Islamabad District and Sessions Court, declaring that the accused nominated in the case and arrested and produced before the court of law are not the persons seen in videos that had gone viral in July last year, nor were they present in the room where the incident took place. She further added that the nominated accused were not the ones to film her and force her to strip.

The victim also submitted to the court that she did not record any statement against the nominated accused before the police nor the magistrate, and neither did she identify them. She added that she did not want to pursue any case against the accused in the case. She accused the police of creating this case on their own by taking her signature and thumb impressions on blank papers multiple times.

In Tuesday’s hearing, primary accused Usman Mirza and seven others nominated in the case were presented before the court. The victim informed the court that she does not know the accused, and that she had only seen them for the first time in police stations. She denied having paid any ransom and claimed that none of the nominated persons had attempted to sexually assault her at the E-11 apartment seen in the videos.

On Wednesday, Maleeka Bokhari took to twitter to announce that the state will pursue the case in light of this recent development, citing the “irrefutable video & forensic evidence on record” following a meeting of the Ministry of Law and Justice. She further added that anyone harassing and stripping women must face the full force of the law.

Usman Mirza was arrested on July 7, 2021, after he along with several other men were seen torturing and threatening the distressed couple in a series of videos that went viral on social media. Police were able to arrest other suspects identified in the videos. A first information report (FIR) was lodged under sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 354-A (assault or use of criminal force against woman and stripping her of her clothes), 506 (ii) (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), with provisions for rape, extortion and wrongful confinement being added later.

The female victim had initially told a magistrate that Usman Mirza and his accomplices forced her to dance in the nude, and threatened her with gang-rape if she did not have sex with her friend while they filmed them. Additional Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani had indicted Usman Mirza and others, including Hafiz Ata-ur-Rehman, Farhan Shaheen, Adaras Qayyum Butt, Rehan Hassan Mughal, Umar Bilal and Mohib Bangash.

Grand jirga settles border dispute between KP, G-B tribes

On Tuesday, a 26-member jirga constituted by the district administrators of Kohistan and Diamer announced the formal resolution of a territorial dispute between two tribes – the Thor of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and the Herban of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) – during an official ceremony at the Diamer-Bhasha Dam project site. The agreement will pave the way for the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to expedite the dam’s construction.

The jirga, comprised of equal number of members from G-B’s Diamer district and KP’s Upper Kohistan district, was formed in 2019 for the express purpose of resolving the conflict between the Thor and Herban. The dispute regarding eight kilometers of territory on the Karakoram Highway had resulted in the deaths of at least four persons from Kohistan and several injuries during a firing incident in 2014.

Cheques worth Rs. 400 million were distributed among residents whose land had been acquired for the construction of the dam, while Rs. 5 million were given to families of the deceased and Rs. 2.5 million to the injured in the 2014 clash.

SHO suspended for lodging case against infant

District Police Officer (DPO) Sohaib Ashraf on Tuesday suspended the Allahabad Police Station House Officer (SHO) from service for lodging a criminal case against a seven-month old baby.

According to police, one Jamil along with four accomplices were nominated in a case for depriving one Rafique of his land by failing to pay the agreed amount of Rs. 1.5 million after ownership had transferred to Jamil. The infant was among the four others implicated in the case. The issue gained widespread attention on social media when the accused family approached the court for pre-arrest bail.


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