A fake pir (faith healer), who is accused of blackmailing numerous women after raping and filming them, was on Friday remanded to police custody till July 29 by a trial court in the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Materials recovered by police from the 'faith healer's' den. Photo: Tariq Naqash
Materials recovered by police from the 'faith healer's' den. Photo: Tariq Naqash

The accused, Mian Mohammad Tanzeem, 55, had reportedly been running his extortion racket in a densely-populated area of Muzaffarabad for more than a decade. He was finally netted by the police after an informant tipped off City Police SHO Rashid Habib Masoodi with evidence of his reprehensible activities. The police secretly surveilled the accused for two days before finally raiding the three-room “Aastana Aaliya”, his den, on Thursday afternoon after securing permission from sub-divisional magistrate Asim Khalid Awan.

The aastana was part of the accused's house, but his family seems to have disassociated themselves from him due to his activities, SHO Masoodi told Dawn.

The first room of the aastana was a reception and waiting room; the second room was where the accused met his victims, while the third was a luxurious bedroom where the accused had installed three hidden cameras.

The accused, who would also practice quackery and black magic, would lure female followers into visiting him alone, administer sedatives to them and then rape them in the bedroom, SHO Masoodi said.

He would film his victims with the hidden cameras installed in the room and then blackmail them on their next visit. He would ask for money and gold in return for his silence, the police official added.

Police said the fake pir would avoid targeting local followers and instead would prey on women from other districts. “Most of his victims were therefore from other districts, such as Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Attock and Mirpur,” the SHO said. The accused would force his victims, with the threat of releasing their videos, to lure more women to his place.

SHO Masoodi said that the fake pir did not offer much resistance when the police raided his place.

“Initially he asked us why we were raiding his place. When he was told that the police possessed substantial evidence about his abhorrent practices, he instantly confessed to his crimes,” he said.

The fake pir also handed over a laptop which carried substantial incriminating evidence of his activities.

Police have booked the man for violation of Sections 419, 420 and 354-A of the Azad Kashmir Penal Code and Sections 6 and 10 of the Zina Hudood Ordinance. The last three crimes are punishable with lifetime imprisonment.