Abducted girl freed after 15 months

Jun 06, 2023

RAWALPINDI: The Ratta Amral Police said on Monday that they had recovered a four-year-old girl that went missing from the Dhok Hassu area on the outskirts of Islamabad around 15 months ago. They added that they had arrested a couple from Lahore who would be charged with abducting the child. Investigators said that the accused used the child and at least three others as props for begging. They believe that one of the recovered girls is the three-year-old that had been reported missing last year. They have also started an investigation regarding the parentage of the other three children. Police added that they would conduct a DNA test before handing over the abducted three-year-old to her parents. They told The Express Tribune that a three-year-old girl was abducted in broad daylight by an unidentified couple from Gulistan Fatima Colony in Dhok Hasu. A case of abduction was registered at Rata Amral police station on the complaint of the girl's father, Ajab Khan. The girl's father, who worked as labourer at the nearby Islamabad vegetable market, told police that the girl had gone out of the house to the nearby shop but never returned.

Police used extensive surveillance methods to identify the culprits. They couple were captured in various CCTV cameras obtained from nearby areas where the girl went missing. The missing girl’s parents also identified their daughter and the couple who had her. The couple was accompanied by three other children. Police sources said that the Nadra, which is a database of Pakistani citizens, was used to trace the accused. Photographs were obtained from the CCTV footage and matched with thousands of faces under the Nadra system along with human intelligence. Investigators added that it was clear from the footage that the child traffickers in this instance were engaged in beggary. The information along with appearance details were shared with police in different cities and with assets within the mafia for information.

It led to information about the whereabouts of the husband and wife, who were found living in Lahore. Police sources added that once it was confirmed that the girl was with them, a the orders were issued to form a raiding party for her safe retrieval. The police informed their counterparts in Lahore about the situation for necessary backup in case from resistance from the abductors. The couple were arrested on the spot, while the four children present in the house were taken into protective custody. Police sources said that until the DNA test report of the girl, the girl would stay under protective custody at the Child Protection Bureau. Police added that the accused duo claim that the three other children found with them were their own children. The children would undergo DNA tests to confirm parentage, they added.