LAHORE – The Supreme Court of Pakistan was told on Thursday the main accused in the gang-rap case was a friend of Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, therefore, the Faisalabad police was not arresting him.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Jawad S. Khawaja and Justice Amir Muslim Hani heard a suo moto on the appeal of Samina Akhtar, allegedly raped by five persons. The D-Type Colony police had registered a gang-rap case, on the victim girl’s application, against Asghar Ali, Ansar Ali, Muhammad Ihsan, Tariq Ali and Karam Hussain. Asghar Ali had asked Samina to come to his office in connection with a job offer and later he and his four friends raped her. Lahore High Court Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu granted bails to all the accused persons about seven months ago. Samina, however, filed an appeal in the SC against the bails.

The SC’s Lahore Registry had on March 06 converted her appeal into a suo moto notice and had sent two accused — Ansar Ali and Muhammad Ihsan — to jail while Asghar Ali had managed to escape from the court. The bench had ordered the Faisalabad police to produce the remaining accused in the court. As the apex court resumed hearing on Thursday, the investigators produced Tariq Ali and Karam Hussain in the court and informed the honourable judges that the main accused could not be arrested.

Expressing their dissatisfaction over the police statement, the bench ordered the Faisalabad police chief to appear within two hours. Upon arrival, the officer informed the court that his jawans were trying to arrest Ali. He, however, demanded more time for his arrest. At this point, Samina, who herself pleaded her case, stunned the court by revealing that Asghar Ali was a friend of Law Minister Rana Sana. She said: “Ali is often seen sitting with Rana Sana on television talk shows. Therefore, police have no courage to arrest him.” The high police officer, however, assured the apex court that Asghar would be arrested soon.

“Yes, this is the reason why the police are not arresting Asghar Ali. They have not raided the 27th place where the accused may be available,” Justice Khawaj responded to the officer’s clarification that policemen had raided some 26 places to arrest the accused. Samina also informed the court the police had detained Mushtaq, the sole witness of the rape incident, and had tortured him. She also said after their bails, Asghar Ali and Karam Hussain had tried to kill her. She received bullet injuries to her shoulder, it may be recalled.

“Why do the police want to pressurise Samina?” Justice Hani inquired. “Samina and her heirs are not employees of police. The police have to go to record their statements,” added Justice Khawaja. The top officer informed the court that the cops who were involved in the harassment had been punished by way of deduction of their two months salaries.