ISLAMABAD, Aug 20, 2015 (MAMOSA report) — Credible testimonies indicate large-scale sexual abuse of children for many years in the Husain Khanwala village of Kasur district.
It is clear that a heinous crime has been committed against children that remained concealed largely because victims’ families paid extortion money because of intimidation, it has emerged.
The references made to a land dispute in the village are irrelevant and nothing can justify avoidance of impartial investigation and prosecution, says a report released by the other Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
The police ignorance about the video clippings freely circulating in the area and their failure to take action lends support to charges of policemen’s collusion with the culprits, says the report.
Led by Hina Jilani, HRCP Executive Council member and director of AGHS Child Rights Unit, and formerly UN Secretary-General’s Representative for Human Rights defenders, the team found the role of political parties very distributing.
The massive child abuse scandal surfaced after a clash between police and protesting families in Kasur earlier this month left two dozen protestors and 28 policemen injured.
The media reported existence of several hundred video clips that showed scenes of sexual abuse involving almost 300 children.
The nine-member fact-finding team visited Kasur on Aug 11, the day when Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif formed a joint investigation team to probe the issue, and interviewed the local police, families of the victims and local social activists assisting the complainants.
Quoting accounts of all these people the team believes that credible testimonies indicate that not only a large number of children had been sexually abused and exploited by the accused, but the ugly activities were continuing at least since 2010.
The investigation officer of the rank of sub-inspector acknowledged that the number of objectionable clippings were in the hundreds but not the number of victims.
The new SHO appointed at Ganda Singhwala police station as well as the Kasur DPO declined to meet the team or receive phone calls, reported Pakistan Today.
Referring to reports of a land dispute, it said the issue becomes irrelevant in the presence of “clear” and “convincing” evidence that a heinous crime against children has occurred.
Referring to police neglect of duty and collusion, it says the wide circulation of the video clippings and rumours going around the village preceding the registration of cases could and should not have escaped the notice of the police for so many months.
The team could not collect any specific information that political influence was used to manipulate the police investigation in favour of the accused, though the behaviour of the police and public statements by some PML-N leaders casts a doubt on their commitment to ensure that justice is done to the victims. Rana Sanaullah, for instance, tried to dismiss the whole incident as a fabrication instigated by persons with a vested interest in a land dispute, the report said.
Meanwhile today, Bhakkar police arrested two more suspects of the child sexual abuse scandal case being heard. Lahore High Court Chief Justice Manzoor A Malik ordered the Joint Investigation Team to complete the inquiry at the earliest and present the report to the court as soon as possible.
The article originally appeared in The Pakistan Today.