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Friday Sep 18 2020

Prime suspect in Lahore motorway rape may change appearance to evade arrest

LAHORE: Police on Friday warned citizens and law enforcement personnel to be wary of the prime suspect still at large in the motorway gang-rape case, who they said may change appearance in an attempt to hide his identity.

Almost 10 days have passed since two armed men allegedly gang-raped a woman stranded with her children on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway before robbing her of money and other valuables. However, the prime suspect, Abid Ali, is yet to be caught.

As security agencies ramp up search efforts, widen the scope of the investigation, and put technology to use to apprehend the suspect, authorities have circulated various possible appearances that Abid may change into in order to avoid being caught.

Read more: Punjab minister says motorway rape survivor has identified both perpetrators

These images have been sent out via WhatsApp and plastered across police stations so that should anyone spot someone bearing resemblance to any of the photos, they may easily inform authorities.

Among the four photos distributed, one shows Abid with his original face and hairstyle, a second one with a bald head and moustache, another where he is clean-shaved with a bald head, and the last with a French beard. In all four, his primary features have not been altered.

To date, authorities have taken four men into custody, of whom one has confessed to involvement in the horrific crime.

Also read: Man in custody confesses to crime but prime suspect of motorway rape still at large

The four include Waqarul Hassan Shah, his brother-in-law, Abbas, Shafqat Ali, and Bala Mistri. Of these, Waqar and Abbas are no longer suspects and Shafqat confessed to the gang-rape, according to police.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had said that Shafqat's DNA had matched with the sample obtained from the victim.

Mistri, the fourth one, was reportedly an accomplice of the two prime suspects and was with them the night of the incident but had left before it took place.

Related: Police arrest third accomplice of two main suspects in Lahore motorway rape

The Lahore motorway gang-rape case has renewed the debate on such incidents, with many demanding capital punishment for the perpetrators.

The Punjab government has offered a a Rs2.5 million reward for any information leading to the arrest of Abid. The identity of those bringing forward any information will be kept confidential.


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