KARACHI - An additional sessions court on Thursday granted physical remand of a man suspected of sexually assaulting a four-year-old minor girl and her mother, to Sindh Police for three days.

The police informed additional sessions judge that they were conducting search operations to apprehend two other suspects involved in the heinous crime.

Police arrested the suspect using a trap while an accomplice was currently at large.

Kashmore Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Amjad Ali Shaikh confirmed the suspect’s arrest. He said the woman and her daughter were medically examined and their samples were now being sent for forensic and DNA examinations.

Both the victims hail from Karachi, according to Kashmore police. The woman had come across the suspect at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) in Karachi nearly a week ago. The suspect “promised the woman that he would get her a job at Kashmore Toll Plaza and she readily agreed,” a policeman said.

The woman arrived in Kashmore over the past weekend and met the suspect. Two days later, she approached Kashmore police, alleging that the suspect had raped her after she reached his residence, and he then handed her over to another man living near the Sindh-Balochistan border. That man also allegedly raped the woman, according to SSP Shaikh. The woman told police that the suspect held her five-year-old daughter hostage, saying he would only let her go when she brought him another woman from Karachi. According to police, the suspect also gave her some money to cover her travelling expenses.

Police say efforts being made to arrest other accused

Kashmore police then devised a ploy to nab the suspect. “Our ASI (assistant sub-inspector) Mohammad Bux Buriro persuaded his wife to talk to the suspect over phone which she did. Then the woman from Karachi and the ASI’s daughter waited in a park in Kashmore where the suspect was scheduled to meet them,” said Kashmore Station House Officer (SHO) Akbar Channa.

As soon as the suspect arrived there, police apprehended him, according to the SSP. He then led police to a cattle pen where he had kept the young girl. “The girl told police that he had subjected her to criminal assault,” the police officer said.

He explained that the trap was arranged and police needed a woman for this purpose so the suspect would be tricked into thinking the victim had brought another woman as he had desired. “Otherwise it would have been difficult to lay hands on him,” he said. Police conducted raids for the arrest of the other man in Balochistan but he remained at large. A local court has already remanded the Kashmore suspect in police custody for three days.

A case was registered against the two men on Tuesday on the complaint of Kashmore police under under Sections 376 (punishment of rape), 344 (wrongful confinement for ten or more days), 420 (cheating) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code. Besides the two suspects, one unidentified person was also nominated in the case by police.

SHO Channa said the samples of the woman and her daughter were being sent for DNA and forensic analysis. The DNA samples and clothes will be examined at the Forensic and Molecular Sciences laboratory of the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences in Jamshoro.

The latest incident involving sexual violence against women and children sparked outrage on social media and was condemned by rights activists and politicians as well. It remained one of the top trends on Twitter in Pakistan and was being posted about with the hashtag ‘Kashmore tragedy’. Comments on Facebook eulogised ASI Buriro for involving his daughter in order to trap the suspect in the case. His photo was also shared on social media to acknowledge his effort.

The minor girl and her mother have been shifted to Larkana, the divisional headquarters in upper Sindh. Larkana district has a tertiary hospital as well where the girl might be kept for treatment, officials said.

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari issued a statement saying he had taken strong notice of “the brutal incident”, which had “shocked him personally and the beasts involved in this gruesome crime have shamed humanity”.

Bilawal said the victims will get justice at any cost and asked the Sindh government to ensure that the culprits get exemplary punishment under the law. He also asked the government to ensure adequate medical treatment for both the victims.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said the “horrific Kashmore rape case shows how despite laws a bestial mindset continues to ravage our society, violating our children. [...] Sindh government must ensure strict enforcement of law.”