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LAHORE: To give exemplary punishments to hundreds of yet to be identified suspects who assaulted a female and her companions at Minar-e-Pakistan on Independence Day, the Punjab government on Wednesday added non-bailable clauses to the FIR and vowed to provide swift justice to the lady.

Giving details of progress in the case after #lahoreincident and #ayeshaakram became top trends on social media, Punjab chief minister’s focal person for digital media, Azhar Mashwani, said that non-bailable clauses (Section 354-A) have been added to the FIR to give exemplary punishments to the suspects, who assaulted the woman and her companions.

“Despite “Ashura” duties, police are analysing the video clips and available CCTV footages to identify the culprits and arrest them,” he tweeted and further wrote that four investigation teams are working on the case and they are also in contact with National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) teams for the identification of the accused.

According to Azhar, CCTV footage recorded by the Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) and Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) are also being analysed from different aspects. He added that CM Usman Buzdar after taking notice of the incident is personally looking after the investigation.

Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Inam Ghani said the accused do not deserve any concession and no effort will be spared to punish them severely.

“The incident is very unfortunate and therefore a case has been registered against the accused involved in the incident under section 354-A which is punishable by life imprisonment or death penalty,” Ghani said in a statement. He further said that photographs of the people involved in the incident have been sent to Nadra chairman and his staff was busy in the process of identifying the accused. The IG directed CCPO Lahore Ghulam Mehmood Dogar and DIG Investigation to supervise the investigation of the case.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari also condemned the assault and harassment that occurred in the Greater Iqbal Park on Independence Day. She stated that arrests have been made in the case, the FIR has been lodged and the MoHR is following up with authorities. However, “we need to try and change such violent behavioural patterns in our people,” she remarked.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N Shehbaz Sharif also took to twitter to denounce the incident, stating that they were “deeply disturbed by the harassment of the young woman”. Shehbaz said he was worried about the direction the society was heading to. “The recent anti-women incidents are a reminder that malaise is deep-rooted,” he said, adding that it was very shameful. On August 14, a female TikToker along with her companions was harassed and assaulted by a mob in Greater Iqbal Park.

She alleged that the mob picked her up and started tossing her in the air. “I was stripped and my clothes were torn apart,” the survivor was quoted as saying in the FIR. The incident has sparked outrage nationwide, with many questioning women’s freedom in Pakistan on social media.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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