At least 40 men sent for an identity parade
Major developments have taken place in the Minar-e-Pakistan mass harassment of TikTokker Aisha Akram in Lahore with mass arrests and the Supreme Court of Pakistan taking notice.
Two numbers for total arrests have been announced by the authorities: 126 and 92. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Political Relations Dr Shahbaz Gill tweeted that 126 men have been arrested out of which 34 hail from South Punjab. On the other hand, the Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani told the Supreme Court that 92 men have been arrested.
Meanwhile, a court has sent at least 40 men to prison for an identity parade. According to Lahore Investigation DIG Shariq Jamal, the men were identified through Geofencing and face matching. “Their presence at the crime scene was confirmed by digital mobile forensics,” he said.
Amid the news of the arrests, it emerged Monday that the Supreme Court has taken notice of the Minar-e-Pakistan case with Punjab Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani submitting a report on its details to the Human Rights Cell.
According to the report, four special teams have been formed to undertake a comprehensive investigation. They have visited the spot and victim Aisha Akram’s medico-legal examination has been performed.
All videos and 60 photographs were collected and sent to NADRA. They identified nine men who have been arrested and with the help of them a further slew of suspects have been arrested. This brings the total to 92 men, the report said.
The report stated that geo-fencing data was collected with the help of the intelligence agencies. More than 700 people were declared suspects.
One of the 400 suspects was, however, granted pre-arrest bail by a district and sessions court in Lahore. Shehroze Syed had filed a petition which was heard by Additional Session Judge Muhammad Saeed on Saturday. According to Syed’s petition, he wants to be a part of the police investigation but fears arrests.
And so, the court barred the police from arresting Syed till September 2. “The petitioner is a respectable citizen of the locality and has no previous record of such offence,” it ruled, adding that there is no incriminating material available on record to connect the petitioner with the commission of the alleged offence.
The police have been instructed to present the case challan at the next hearing.
The prosecution has, on the other hand, ordered the investigation team to conduct a forensic examination of the viral video.
The clothes the victim was wearing at the time of the assault have been collected. The police have been instructed to chalk out a map of the crime scene.
“The statements of the woman’s friends should be immediately recorded and her medical reports should be included in the police file,” the prosecutor added.
The victim said that she was at the Minar-e-Pakistan with her friends to make a video for her YouTube channel when suddenly more than 300 to 400 men attacked them. The victim said when she and her friends tried to get away from the crowd, the guards at the Minar opened the gate of the fence and they went inside.
The men jumped over the fence and surged towards us and started pulling me, the woman said. She said that they clawed and tore her clothes. She said that some men tried to help her but the crowd was so overwhelmingly large that they couldn’t do anything.
She said that the mob of men also assaulted her partner Amir Sohail’s friend and snatched his cellphone and Rs15,000. They even forcefully took off my gold ring and gold earrings, she said.
Videos of the incident surfaced later as many people present had cell phones and started recording the commotion. They show the woman walking with a crowd behind her before the men surround her. People can be seen raising their mobile phones to take videos and pictures of her and start pushing her around. As the scores of men surround her, the woman starts screaming frantically. As the video goes on, a man is heard saying “Azaan ho rahi hai.” The call to prayer had started to fill the air.
Another video shows men throwing the woman in the air.
The FIR was registered after the horrific footage of the woman being pushed, groped, and thrown in the air went viral on social media.