Motorway gang-rape suspects plead innocence as court frames charges

Staff Reporter

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) indicted on Wednesday two suspects in a case pertaining to the gang-rape of a woman on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway.

Suspects Abid Malhi and Shafqat Bhagga were presented before the court as Judge Arshad Hussain Bhatta resumed hearing.

The court ordered the prosecution to provide a copy of the charge-sheet to their lawyers for perusal.

The suspects pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the charges. The court, therefore, summoned prosecution witnesses to record their testimonies at next hearing.

On September 9, a woman along with her children was waiting for help on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway after her car ran out of fuel when she was forcefully brought out of the car at gunpoint and gang-raped in Gujjarpura area on the outskirts of the provincial capital.

A woman was raped in front of her children by two unidentified men on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway on September 9, 2020.

The case rattled the country and reignited the debate on whether capital punishment should be fixed for rapists or not.

On Wednesday, a special anti-terrorism court indicted Abid Malhi and Shafqat Bagga in the rape case. Charges were read out against them and they denied them.

The court instructed the prosecution to present their four witnesses at the next hearing.

Earlier, on February 7, challan of the case was handed over to the prosecution. The investigation officer told an anti-terrorism court that the challan has been given to the prosecution for scrutiny. The hearing was adjourned till February 10.

On November 18, 2020, the police produced Shafqat, a suspect in the Lahore motorway case, before anti-terrorism court in Lahore.

He was produced before the court of Admin Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta amid tight security. The suspect has already recorded his confessional statement at the Cantt Kutcheri.
He has been sent to jail on judicial remand till December 1.

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