By Ishaq Tanoli
KARACHI: An additional district and sessions judge indicted on Thursday two lawyers in a case of kidnap and gang-rape of an 18-year-old girl.
The suspects are charged with kidnapping two teenage sisters, who then belonged to the Christian faith, and subjecting one of them to rape on Nov 17, 2008 in the apartment of one of the suspects in the Tariq Road area.
Judge Rana Zaki Shamsi read out the charges against the suspects. However, they pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the charges. The court summoned the prosecution witnesses asking them to record their testimonies on the next hearing.
The police arrested a lawyer on Nov 22 in his apartment in the remit of the Ferozeabad police station for his alleged involvement in the case. On a lead provided by him, the police also arrested his accomplice, also a lawyer. Both of them were remanded in judicial custody on Nov 24. However, a sessions court granted them bail against a surety bond of Rs100,000 each on Jan 13 this year.
According to the prosecution, the victim, hailing from Gujranwala, along with her sister, came to Karachi on Nov 17, 2008 to embrace Islam since their parents and relatives were opposed to their conversion. The girls had travelled with a Karachi-based family, and on the following day the family head, Mohammad Rafique, took both girls to a lawyer for legal formalities regarding conversion and to hand them over to a shelter home.
However, the lawyer with his friend took the girls to his apartment in the Tariq Road area and allegedly raped the 18-year-old girl. The suspects also made an unsuccessful attempt to sexually assault her younger sister, but she escaped and called Rafique with her mobile phone, the prosecution added.
The hearing was adjourned till Sept 14 for recording the evidence of witnesses.
A case (FIR 1213/08) was registered against the accused under Sections 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) and 376-B (when rape is committed by two or more persons in furtherance of common intension of all, each of such person shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Ferozabad police station.
The police said they had also seized alcohol from the crime-scene and registered a separate case (FIR 1214/08) under Section 4 of the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order, 1979, against the suspects. Later, one of the suspects got bail in this case while the other was discharged under Section 169 (release of accused when evidence deficient) of the criminal procedure code.