Sunday Sep 13 2020
Web Desk

Motorway gang rape suspect surrenders before Lahore police

Web Desk

Suspect Waqarul Hassan has claimed innocence in the motorway gang rape case.

A suspect in the motorway gang rape case surrendered before the Lahore Police on Sunday and claimed that he was not involved in the highway incident, Geo News reported.

Waqarul Hassan was among the two suspects identified by the Punjab government on Saturday for their alleged involvement in the heinous crime which has angered the whole nation and prompted countrywide protests.

The key suspect, Abid Ali, is still at large and police teams are conducting raids at different locations to apprehend him.

Read more: Pakistan's most wanted

According to sources, Waqar surrendered himself today at the Model Town police station. He claimed that his brother-in-law was using his mobile phone.

“He refused to surrender himself along with me but he may do so soon. He was involved in some criminal activities with Abid Ali and is still in contact with him,” Waqar reportedly told police.

Claiming innocence in the gang rape, he asked the officials to get his DNA test done.

Parents' appeal to authorities

Meanwhile, speaking to Geo News, Waqar's mother said that her son is "innocent" and that he decided to surrender himself after he got to know of the incident.

"If my son had done something wrong, he wouldn't have surrendered himself," she said.

Read more: Country-wide protests held to demand stern action against culprits of Lahore motorway gang rape

The suspect's mother appealed to Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to ensure justice is served in Waqar's case.

"My son is a pious and religious person, his life should be spared," she said, adding: "He runs a motorcycle repairing shop in Qilla Sattar Shah."

"If my son was a culprit, why would he present himself [to the law enforcement agencies]," she asked.

The mother said that she has four daughters and two sons and one of her sons was ill.

Meanwhile, Waqar's father said that his son is not a "thief" and "works at a shop".

Read more: Punjab govt launches manhunt after suspects of Lahore motorway gang rape case identified

He said Waqar is "innocent" and appealed to the authorities to release him.

Rs2.5 million reward

On Saturday, Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar had announced a reward of Rs2.5 million for each of the suspects if information leading to their arrest is shared. He said that the identity of those bringing forward any information will be kept confidential.

"We worked day and night and launched a probe using scientific techniques. I personally monitored the progress and directed the completion of the probe expediently," Buzdar had said.

According to the chief minister, seven cases — including two gang-rape cases — were registered against Abid, while two robbery cases were filed against Waqar who was reportedly released 14 days earlier on bail.

Read more: Punjab law minister says motorway gang rape 'blind incident with no evidence'

Buzdar said that the culprits will be given exemplary punishment for the heinous crime.

While briefing the media about how the police identified the suspects, Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani had said, "Geo-fencing of the entire area was carried out, data was taken from the Election Commission of Pakistan, fingerprints were taken from the site, and DNA tests were conducted".

IGP Ghani said that after the police went through the records they had gathered they got to know that Abid Ali had four sims registered in his name that he used on several occasions. All of the sims, however, were currently non-functional.

"Ultimately, we tracked down another number — that was not registered to his name — and it proved our suspicions right. Through this number, we were able to reach his partner as well," he said.

Read more: PM Imran takes 'strict notice' of Lahore motorway, Marwah rape cases

The Punjab police chief added: "We are 95% sure that [the person we have tracked down] is his partner as his phone signals were traced to the location of the crime [at the time of the incident]."

The incident

On Wednesday night, it was reported that two robbers had allegedly gang-raped a mother of two on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway in an area falling within Gujjarpura police's jurisdiction.

The woman, along with her two children, was driving to Gujranwala when she was forced to stop at the Gujjarpura section of the motorway after running out of fuel, at around 1:30am.

She immediately called a relative and sent him her location. He asked her to also dial the Motorway Police helpline 130 from which she reportedly received no response.

In the meantime, 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.