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Tuesday Sep 22 2020

Motorway rape case: Every district in Punjab mobilised in manhunt for Abid Malhi

The provincial police has released computer generated photos of main suspect Abid Malhi showing him in different possible guises to aid his arrest. Photo file

LAHORE: Inspector General Punjab (IGP) Inam Ghani has tasked the police teams of all 36 districts of the province with apprehending the prime suspect in the motorway rape incident, it emerged on Tuesday. 

The suspect, Abid Malhi, has been on the run and a special investigation team assigned to the job has so far failed to arrest him despite close to two weeks having passed since the shocking rape and robbery incident on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway, The News reported on Tuesday.

On September 9, Abid, along with accomplice Shafqat Ali, had allegedly gang-raped a woman stranded on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway with her children before robbing her.

The accomplice, Shafqat, is in police custody and has confessed to the crime.

The incident sent shockwaves across Pakistan and sparked major protests, with many demanding capital punishment for the perpetrators. 

The incident also prompted a nationwide conversation on sexual abuse and rape culture, which intensified when the Lahore police chief made several remarks blaming the victim for the incident.

With the case still wide open nearly two weeks after the incident, the provincial police chief has written to all field formation commanders for assistance. 

His letter, titled: “assistance in the arrest of the accused involved in Sialkot motorway rape case”, states that: “In furtherance of an investigation of the case FIR No.1369/20, u/s 376-ii/392 PPC registered in Gujjarpura Police Station, Lahore, one of the prime accused was identified as Muhammad Abid Malhi s/o Muhammad Akbar, who is still absconding. There is every probability that the accused might have cloaked himself in a different look and hiding at someplace”.

Read more: Motorway rape case: Police fail to nab key suspect Abid Ali even after over 10 days

“Sanctuaries available to the above fugitive from law range from prisons, shelter homes, shrines, Imambargahs and madrassas, to moving theatres, circus, melas and Urs throughout Punjab,” reads the letter.

The IGP has also ordered his field formations to ensure strict compliance and keep a functional liaison with the special investigation team headed by DIG Investigations Lahore Shehzada Sultan.

The police chief attached photographs and some of the likely guises of the accused with the letter to help in the manhunt.

Moreover, in order to broadcast the basic information compendium of the case on all cable networks, a small TVC is also being emailed to all regions.