LAHORE: DIG Operations Shahzad Akbar has dismissed from service two constables who have been found guilty of torturing a group of girls who the officials claimed to have found involved in obscene activities.

The police officials during a raid also filmed the incident and the DIG has sought an explanation from an ASP over alleged negligence. He has referred the case for a regular inquiry to further determine the role of ASI Muhammad Zulfiqar and Factory Area SHO Bihar Hussain who carried out the raid at the farmhouse and arrested the girls and a group of men.

The incident of torture of the girls came to the limelight after the video recorded by the policemen went viral on the social media and was aired by news channels, leaving the police red-faced.

Officers, however, justify ‘crackdown on obscene activities’

The footage showed lady constable Nusrat Inayat lining up the girls and her colleague Abdul Manan recording the incident on a mobile phone camera. The lady constable also slapped the girls when they requested the police officials not to record it to save them from ‘ignominy’.

The Factory Area police during the Aug 5 raid at a Pak Town farmhouse arrested eight girls and six men.

A source said Defence Circle ASP Ikramullah Khan had directed the Factory Area police to initiate action on the basis of information about ‘obscene activities’ at the farmhouse. He also formed a team of the police officials under the supervision of SHO Inspector Bihar Hussain.

The source said one of the men introduced himself as a lawyer and faced police brutality during the raid.

As the Lahore police drew the flak after the video went viral, the DIG deputed SSP Operations Asad Sarfraz to probe the incident. During the course of the inquiry, it transpired that the incident of torture of girls occurred when the SHO and the ASI were on a ‘search mission’ inside an attached building.

The SSP held the constables responsible for torturing the girls and recording the incident, recommending to the DIG the punishment of dismissal from service. They were also held guilty of making the video public, said the source.

Mr Sarfraz also proposed punishment for the SHO and the ASI who he held responsible for leaking another video footage that was filmed in the police station.

However, both the officials defended their position by saying this video was officially recorded by them to be shared with the media. A copy of this recording was officially released to the senior police officers concerned as well as the media for coverage, they said while claiming that the divisional SP and other senior police officers had earlier lauded their performance on seeing this very video.

The inquiry officer claimed that since this “official policy” was introduced by the previous police regime, no such lame excuse could be entertained now.

Asad Sarfraz told Dawn that there was nothing illegal about the police raid but the torture of the girls and its video embarrassed the police force. He said the girls were involved in obscene activities and a case was registered against them the day the raid was carried out.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2018

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