Waqarul Hassan has claimed he is innocent and provided information on primary accused’s accomplices
One of the suspects wanted by the Punjab police in the motorway gang-rape case on Sunday surrendered before the Lahore Police but claimed he was innocent and his cellphone had been used by one of his relatives.
Waqarul Hassan, whose CNIC and photo were made public by the Punjab government on Saturday, along with the details of primary accused Abid Ali, told police upon his surrender that he was innocent and his brother-in-law was using his mobile phone. Police sources said that Hassan had been in contact with his brother-in-law, who he claimed was involved in some criminal activities with Ali.
Hassan has agreed to a DNA test to confirm his innocence and a senior police official on request of anonymity has claimed that the victim has also confirmed that Hassan was not among her attackers.
On Monday morning, Hassan’s brother-in-law Abbas also surrendered himself to police in Sheikhupura, saying he was innocent and had not been with primary accused Ali at the time of the rape.
On Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, in a press conference with Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani and various ministers, announced a reward of Rs. 2.5 million for any information leading to the arrest of suspects Hassan and Ali. He stressed that the identity of any informant would be kept strictly confidential.
The chief minister alleged that Ali had seven cases registered against him, including two gang-rape cases, while Hassan had been booked on two cases of robbery and had only recently been released on bail.
Buzdar vowed that the culprits, once arrested, would be given exemplary punishment for their heinous crime.
The IGP, meanwhile, had said that suspect Hassan had been implicated because a cellphone registered under his name had been tracked at the site of the crime at the time of the rape.
The gang-rape and robbery of the victim, in the presence of her children, at the Sialkot-Lahore motorway has prompted mass anger and nationwide protests, including against Lahore CCPO Umar Sheikh for appearing to blame her for driving late at night and not checking her fuel before starting her journey home.