KARACHI: A sessions court arraigned on Saturday seven men for their alleged involvement in the gang-rape of a teenage girl in Ghotki in 2007.
Additional District and Sessions Judge (south) Nizar Ali Khawaja read out charges against the seven accused — Abdul Jabbar, Ali Hasan, Shah Zado, Bashir Ahmed, Anwar Hussain, Khadim Hussain and Shah Baig — to which they pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the charges.
The court summoned all prosecution witnesses on the next date of hearing to record their statements.
According to the prosecution, the accused along with their absconding accomplices had allegedly forcefully entered the house of Nasima Lubano, 18, daughter of Hamzu, on January 27, 2007 in the limits of the Ubaro police station.
The armed accused allegedly kidnapped her and took her to the residence of an absconding accused, Abdul Sattar, where they gang-raped her, it added.
A case (FIR07/2007) was registered under Section 10(4) of the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979, and Sections 354-A, 452, 147, 148, 149, 337-A(i) and 337-F(i) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Ubaro police station on the complaint of the victim’s father.
Later, the section related to the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance was replaced with Section 376-B of the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act, 2006.
The police arrested Loung Khan, Abdul Jabbar, Ali Hasan, Shah Zado, Bashir Ahmed and Anwar Hussain on Feb 1, 2007. Later, two more accused, Khadim Hussain and Shah Baig, were also arrested. However, accused Abdul Sattar, Manawar Hussain and Moro Zada are still at large.
One of the arrested accused, Loung Khan, was granted bail in view of his old age.
He was later killed in a road accident and the SHO of the Ubaro police station submitted his death certificate in court.
All the arrested accused persons are in judicial custody.
On Feb 16, 2007, the investigation officer of the case submitted a charge-sheet in the court of a judicial magistrate and placed 15 prosecution witnesses including two eyewitness, Jamaluddin and Sardar Ali, in the charge-sheet. The two eyewitnesses had also recorded their statements under Sections 164 of the criminal procedure code before a judicial magistrate.
Initially, the case was tried by a sessions court in Mirpur Mathelo. However, the Sindh High Court transferred the case to a sessions court (south) in Karachi since the father of the victim moved an application in court, maintaining that his daughter and family members were given death threats by the accused persons and their relatives, and it was very difficult for them to pursue the case there.
The hearing was adjourned till April 11.