An FIR has been registered against 400 men at the Lara Adda Police Station in Lahore for harassing and looting a woman at Minar-e-Pakistan in what has emerged to be one of the more disturbing examples of violence against women and that too on August 14, the day Pakistan came into being.
The incident took place on the public holiday Saturday at the Greater Iqbal Park at the Minar-e-Pakistan monument. The victim said that she was at the Minar-e-Pakistan with her friends to make a video for her YouTube channel when suddenly more than 300 to 400 men attacked them. The victim said when she and her friends tried to get away from the crowd, the guards at the Minar opened the gate of the fence and they went inside.
The men jumped over the fence and surged towards us and started pulling me, the woman said. She said that they clawed and tore her clothes. She said that some men tried to help her but the crowd was so overwhelmingly large that they couldn’t do anything.
She said that the mob of men also assaulted her partner Amir Sohail’s friend and snatched his cellphone and Rs15,000. They even forcefully took off my gold ring and gold earrings, she said.
Videos of the incident surfaced later as many people present had cell phones and started recording the commotion. They show the woman walking with a crowd behind her before the men surround her. People can be seen raising their mobile phones to take videos and pictures of her and start pushing her around. As the scores of men surround her, the woman starts screaming frantically. As the video goes on, a man is heard saying “Azaan ho rahi hai.” The call to prayer had started to fill the air.
Another video shows men throwing the woman in the air.
The FIR was registered after the horrific footage of the woman being pushed, groped and thrown in the air went viral on social media.
Pakistan Penal Code’s sections 354A, 382, 147, and 149 have been added in the FIR.
• PPC Section 382: Theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint in order to the committing of the theft
• PPC Section 147: Punishment for rioting
• PPC Section 149: Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed In prosecution of common object
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has taken notice of the incident and has sought a report from the CCPO Lahore.
Punjab IG seeks help from NADRA
Punjab IG Inam Ghani has said that photos of the men have been sent to NADRA for identification. “The case is being investigated on a priority basis.”
In a telephonic conversation with the authority’s chairperson, Ghani said demanded data such as addresses and phone numbers of the men be provided to the police. “Once we get all the information, we will be able to arrest the culprits.”
Earlier, Azhar Mashwani, focal person to Punjab CM on digital media, said that the police are analysing the video clips and available CCTV footage to identify the culprits and arrest them.
According to PTI leader Zulfi Bukhari, Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken notice of the assault and has spoken to Punjab IG. “These are gross violations of laws and social norms, the government won’t spare a single person involved,” he tweeted.
#Minarepakistanincident trends on Twitter
People have been reacting strongly to the incident. Political leaders and human rights activists called the incident “shameful” and “disgusting”.
I’ve been carrying these weapons with me since uni days but stopped carrying it since I started traveling in BRT but this #minarepakistan incident scared me to the soul and I’ve decided that I’ll start carrying it again. I’m scared AF watching that video pic.twitter.com/aBBXT2VXoq
— صدف خٹک (@Sa_ddaf) August 17, 2021
I always carry a little pocket scissors. Everybody asks “iss choti si kenchi se kia hi krogi?” And I’d reply “koi tang kre tou mar du gi use.” Today I ask myself, “iss choti si kenchi se kia hi krogi?” #MinarePakistan #Ayesha pic.twitter.com/vgUpDZB6r7
— سیمل (@MahmoodSeimal) August 17, 2021
— T O O B A (@LazyEngr9) August 18, 2021
People have demanded authorities to arrest the culprits at the latest and have raised questions on the government’s policies for the protection of women against assaults.
This is a developing story.