Following days of hide and seek, the main suspect of Lahore-Sialkot Motorway gangrape case, Abid Malhi, was arrested on Oct 12 by the Lahore crime investigation agency (CIA) police.
The gang rape incident had sparked countrywide outrage in which a mother of two was gang-raped off the motorway on Sept 9 in front of her children after her car ran out of fuel on way to Gujranwala late in the night.
The arrest came after the police, as a strategy, released Malhi’s parents, brothers and wife, allowing them to use their old mobile phone SIMs to trap him.
Punjab Operations Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Sohail Sukhera while talking to Dawn confirmed Malhi’s arrest, and said the police’s strategy of releasing his family members proved successful when the suspect contacted his mother on phone.
He said the police’s special teams that were on high alert, traced Malhi’s call. He said the location of the caller was Faisalabad, where the suspect had been hiding.
The DIG said during the conversation, Malhi’s mother told him that she along with other family members had been released by the police. At this, Malhi expressed his desire to meet her at Manga Mandi, Mr Sukhera said, adding the suspect reached the house of his mother as per their plan.
Mr Sukhera said as soon as Malhi entered the house, the police teams, which had already been deployed there, raided the premises and arrested the suspect without facing any resistance.
He said the other suspect, Shafqat, whose arrest by the counter terrorism department (CTD) was announced by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, had already been sent to prison on a 14-day judicial remand by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore.
Malhi’s arrest was also confirmed by prime minister’s special assistant Shahbaz Gill through a tweet. Mr Gill pledged the suspect would be punished according to law.