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Women rights activists protest over ‘watered-down’ charge-sheet

Ishaq Tanoli

KARACHI: A sessions court on Tuesday put off the hearing of two pre-arrest bail applications filed by as many suspects booked in a controversial case.

The suspects – Mohammad Rizwan and Azhar – had been granted pre-arrest bail and directed to appear in court on Jan 3 for confirmation of the bail or otherwise.

When the matter came up for hearing before Additional District and Sessions Judge (east) Chaudhry Waseem Iqbal on Tuesday, dozens of relatives of the victim woman and members of non-government organisations staged a demonstration outside the court in protest against the investigation officer and the suspects and sought dismissal of the bail pleas.

Two lawyers of the NGOs also filed power of attorney (vakalatnama) on behalf of the victim and submitted an adjournment application stating that they would argue on the bail pleas and since the investigation of the present case was not conducted on merit, they would also file an application for reinvestigation.

The court allowed the plea and adjourned the hearing till Jan 10.

According to the prosecution, the suspects had allegedly forced a 22-year-old woman to take off her clothes, filmed her and posted the video on the internet.

The crime took place within the remit of the Landhi police station.

A case (FIR 292/11) was registered under Sections 354-A (assault or use of criminal force to woman and stripping her of her cloth), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Though death sentence or life imprisonment can be awarded under Section 354-A of the PPC, the investigation officer filed a charge-sheet against the suspects under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506 of the PPC. The maximum punishment under Section 354 is a two-year imprisonment.

Police remand of five suspects extended
A judicial magistrate (west) on Tuesday extended the physical remand of four suspects allegedly involved in cases relating to an attack on a police party and keeping illicit weapons till Jan 5.

The CID police claimed to have arrested Mooed Akhtar, Abdul Qadeer, Mohammad Saleem and Ghulam Nabi in the SITE area some days ago after a shoot-out and found unlicensed weapons in their possession.

The police claimed that the suspects were also involved in cases of kidnapping for ransom and terrorism.

They were booked under Sections 324 (attempted murder), 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 34 of the PPC and 13-D of the Pakistan Arms Ordinance, 1965.

Source: DAWN