A month after evading police, the prime suspect in the motorway rape case, Abid Malhi, has been arrested from Faisalabad.
Police said that Abid is being brought to Lahore from Faisalabad where his DNA test will be taken.
Key points about motorway rape suspect Abid Malhi’s arrest
- Suspect falls into trap laid out by Punjab police
- Police used Malhi’s wife to lure him to Faisalabad
- His DNA test will be taken and matched with samples of the victim
- Punjab Police intentionally “cooled things down”, says Fayyaz Chohan
- Malhi got to know about police raids from media reports: Chohan
The other suspect who allegedly raped the woman, Shafqat, is in jail on judicial remand. The Intelligence Bureau (IB), Special Branch of the police and other agencies had done a recce of the suspect and tipped off Punjab Police about the whereabouts of Malhi before they went to Faisalabad to apprehend him.
Malhi’s DNA test had been obtained thrice from the motorway rape victim’s samples. However, his DNA test will be taken again and matched with the samples from the motorway rape victim’s before any formal proceedings against him are initiated.
The motorway rape case’s prime suspect had managed to evade arrest four times by escaping the clutches of the Punjab police ever since he has been on the run.
How did police manage to catch the motorway rape suspect?
Sources told Geo News that a trap had been laid out for the motorway rape prime suspect, which ultimately led to his arrest. Sources informed Geo News that Malhi’s wife was taken to Faisalabad by police after the suspect told her during a phone call that he would meet her there.
When Malhi arrived in the city to meet her, he was nabbed by police officials in plain clothes.
According to Geo News correspondent Ahmad Faraz, Malhi was arrested without any resistance. He was apprehended easily and taken from Faisalabad to Lahore.
Punjab govt to do everything in its power to make ‘example out of him’: Chohan
Speaking to Geo News, Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz Chohan said that the provincial government would do everything in its power to make an example out of the motorway rape suspect.
Talking about how the Punjab government aims to prosecute Malhi as he had managed to be secure a bail previously despite rape charges, he said:
Chohan said that without speaking to the motorway rape victim, the Punjab government had managed to identify the suspects within 72 hours.
“No shortcomings will take place from [the government’s side],” Chohan said of the case.
He said that Malhi had managed to escape the clutches of the police due to detailed media hype and reporting about him.
“Due to the media’s hype regarding the case, Malhi was able to receive reports about police looking for him and he managed to escaped police raids four to five times as he used to get information from his sources about the police,” said the information minister.
Chohan said that the Punjab police had “intentionally cooled down things” over the things and observed that Malhi had also relaxed over the past 10-12 days which ultimately led him to become less careful.
The minister said that to hide details of the investigation from the public at large, he used to “play down questions asked to me” about the motorway gang-rape case during press conferences.
The information minister stressed that if the prosecution, police, and the judicial system play their role in the right manner, then such people would not escape the law again.
Prime suspect in motorway rape case raped woman and her daughter in 2013: police
According to reports, Shafqat and Abid were at the Lahore-Sialkot motorway on Sept 9 with an intention to rob any motorist when they saw a stationary white-coloured car on the roadside. The two approached the vehicle, threatened and robbed its occupants, and then gang-raped the woman in front of her children after dragging them to a nearby field.
Police had earlier disclosed that apart from Shafqat’s statement, his DNA had to match as well, which is why the samples had been sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA). The arrest was made with use of footprint-tracking as well as DNA samples.
The PFSA had Abid’s prior DNA records from 2013, when he had raped a woman and her daughter and was booked alongside four others under Sections 376 and 395. While he had been bailed out at the time, his DNA and fingerprint records were saved in the lab’s data bank.
The lab’s system identified him as the same rapist from more than seven years ago.
PEMRA directs to stop coverage of motorway rape case
On October 2, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had barred all satellite TV channels from covering the motorway rape case.
A notification from the regulatory authority had stated that the airing of content related to the investigation of the case will diminish the “evidentiary worth of the material collected by the prosecution”.
PEMRA stated in its notification that since the offence is related to a sex crime, hence media coverage concerning the victim and her family will also be a cause of discomfort and disgrace for her.
The authority told news channels to refrain from airing any content with regard to the case on electronic, print, and social media, in the future, and warned that in case of non-compliance, strict legal action will be taken as per PEMRA’s ordinance.
What is the motorway rape case about?
Malhi has been on the run since September 9, when it was reported that two robbers had allegedly gang-raped a mother of three on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway in an area falling within Gujjarpura police’s jurisdiction.
The woman, along with her 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.