Pakistan police arrest 126 people in assault case of YouTuber girl

The incident took place on August 14 when hundreds of youngsters were celebrating Independence Day at Azadi Chowk near Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore

Police in Pakistan have arrested 126 people allegedly involved in the sexual assault of a YouTuber girl on Independence Day at the historic Minar-i-Pakistan, after the incident sparked nationwide outrage and drew international condemnation.

The incident took place on August 14 when hundreds of youngsters were celebrating Independence Day at Azadi Chowk near Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore.

Hundreds of young men can be seen in the videos throwing the girl in the air for fun, dragging her, tearing her clothes and molesting her.

Police had registered a case on Tuesday against 400 unidentified men for assaulting the girl and her companions.

"Police have arrested 126 suspects so far in this case after identifying them through video footage and sent them to jail for identification parade. The victim will identify the suspects in the jail," Punjab IGP Inam Ghani said in a statement on Monday.

He said most arrests came from the surroundings of the Minar-i-Pakistan from where a large number of people had participated in the Independence Day celebration.

“Police have geo-fenced 28,000 people and shortlisted 350 suspects,” he said, adding that police have been deployed at the home of another girl as she was feeling insecure after registration of case against 400 suspects.

Hundreds of young men can be seen in the videos throwing the girl in the air for fun, dragging her, tearing her clothes and molesting her.

The new mobile phone footage showed some young men tearing the clothes of the girl and a few others trying to rescue her from the offenders.

In other video clip, the young offenders formed circles around the woman, ripped her clothes off and groped her.

Politicians from all parties and members of civil society have strongly condemned what many of them called "sexual terrorism".

Some of the suspects alleged before the court that the girl had herself invited them to the Minar-i-Pakistan to make videos. They asked the court to order the police to also arrest the girl and her team members.

Parents of some of the suspects claimed that their sons were wrongly arrested by the police.

The victim said in the FIR she and six other members of her YouTube channel visited Azadi Chowk near Minar-i-Pakistan Lahore to record a video clip of the Independence Day celebrations.

"We were shooting the clip when a good number of youngsters started teasing me. They were joined by more and more. They stripped and molested me. They dragged and tossed me up in the air for fun. And this ordeal continued for two and a half hours before a security personnel rescued me," she said.

Various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code have been included in the FIR.

“Under these sections the suspects can face death and life imprisonment,” Punjab government spokesperson Fayyazul Hasan Chohan said.

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