Zubair Qureshi Islamabad
Additional Session Judge of Islamabad on Friday awarded life-imprisonment to key accused Usman Mirza and four co-accused in the couple harassment and stripping case. They were facing charges of forcing a couple to strip, holding them at gunpoint and thrashing them in the presence of men in the residential sector of E-11.
According to details, the Islamabad had filed a First Information Report (FIR) and arrested the seven accused last year after a video of a couple being subjected to violence and torture went viral on social media in July 2021.
The four co-accused who have been sent to jail for life-term included Hafiz Ataur Rehman, Adaras Qayyum Butt, Mohib Bangash and Farhan Shaheen. Two accused Umar Bilal and Rehan Hassan Mughal have been acquitted over insufficient evidence. In January this year, the case had taken a dramatic turn leading to a public outrage when the woman complainant presented before the court and told she was not interested in the proceedings to go further. She, in fact, retracted her statement against the accused telling the trial court that she did not even know the guys and saw them for the first time in a police station.She further told the court that the investigation officer (IO) had taken her thumb impressions on blank papers. After the woman complainant’s back-tracking the state had to step in and become a party. There was a public outrage when the news that the victim girl was backing out appeared in the media and the general perception was that the poor victims had done so because of the influence of the accused. On this, the government had to step in and Parliamentary Secretary for Law Maleeka Bokhari assured that the state would take up the case as it had “irrefutable video and forensic evidence on record.”