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Lahore motorway gang rape case: ATC to announce verdict today

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) hearing the Lahore motorway gang rape case will announce its verdict today (Saturday) after arguments from the relevant parties concluded.

The Lahore ATC reserved its verdict in the Lahore motorway gang-rape case during a hearing presided over by ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta and conducted at Camp (District) Jail.

During the hearing, the deputy prosecutors general, Hafiz Asghar and Waqar Bhatti, represented the prosecution. Advocates Sher Gull Qureshi and Qasim Arain appeared on behalf of Abid Malhi and Shafqat Ali, the prime accused and co-accused.

The prosecutors argued that the accused individuals gang-raped the victim woman at gunpoint and solid evidence was available against them. “The accused were arrested after their DNA matched with the samples collected from crime scene whereas the survivor also identified them,” they added.

Shafqat Ali, the co-accused, had confessed to the crime before a judicial magistrate, they submitted, pleading with the court to hand down strict punishment as they committed a heinous crime.

However, the defence counsel opposed the plea, saying the prosecution had failed to prove Shafqat’s presence on the crime scene and that the identification parade was held 22 days after his arrest.

In total, the prosecution presented 37 witnesses, including the survivor, during the trial. The court reserved its verdict till March 20. On September 9, 2020, Abid Malhi and Shafqat Ali had allegedly raped a woman at gunpoint in the city’s Gujjarpura area in the presence of her children.

The men stole Rs100,000 worth of money, jewellery, and ATM cards before fleeing, the woman had told police at the time. A first information report (FIR) of the incident was lodged at the Gujjarpura police station under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).