LAHORE: A provincial minister on Thursday found himself at the centre of a controversy after his son along with his friends allegedly kidnapped three policemen, snatched their weapons, tortured them and hurled threats.
Police said late on Oct 1 near the LDA Park in the Ghalib Market area policemen allegedly caught a youth and a girl in a car. As the couple was being taken to the police station, the youth called Mian Hasan, son of Punjab Minister for Housing Mahmoodur Rasheed, who immediately arrived there along with his three friends in two cars.
Police said the suspects snatched guns from the policemen, bundled them into their cars and drove away. They later dropped the kidnapped policemen at different places and fled away.
The police claimed they kept looking for the suspects and traced one of the cars finally on Thursday through a CCTV camera footage that was registered in the name of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf central leader and provincial minister Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed.
The minister, while talking to the media, though admitted his son went to “rescue” his friends, he denied the charges of torturing and kidnapping the policemen.
He said his son reached the spot when his friend told him on phone that he had an argument with some policemen.
Sources said the police lodged a “weak case” against the suspects who were mentioned as “unidentified persons” in the FIR, without properly investigating the matter involving kidnap of policemen.
The FIR was lodged on charges of kidnapping, threatening and torturing the policemen under sections 382, 365, 353, 186 and 148 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Talking to Dawn, Lahore Operations DIG said the minister’s son Mian Hassan was involved in the entire episode.
“They (suspects) kept driving the cars on various roads of the city for two hours, slapping the kidnapped policemen and also filmed the torture with their mobile phone cameras”, the DIG said.
The police traced out the suspects with the help of CCTV cameras of the Safe City Project which also showed them dropping the policemen one by one on different roads, he said.
He said the statements of the victims (policemen) had also been recorded.
The DIG said the investigations had been initiated and the offenders would be brought to task.
“We are collecting evidences through geo tagging and using all other available options to lay a firm hand on the culprits,” DIG Mr Shahzad said.
To a question about the case lodged against the suspects, he said there was a zero tolerance for such offenders and they would be proceeded against without any leniency.
Meanwhile, Mahmoodur Rasheed said the couple caught by policemen on Oct 1 night was just going to the market to have coffee. He alleged the policemen on bikes without number plates tried to blackmail the couple and demanded Rs50,000 as bribe from his son’s friend which prompted Mian Hasan to reach the scene to help him.
He said that he himself directed his son to visit the police station and join the investigation to show that he respected the law.
“I’ll quit my office if the allegations leveled against my son proved true,” the minister said while answering queries of the media persons.
Mr Rasheed lamented that he and his family suffered a setback when a section of the media ran false news that his son was caught with a girl.
“It is my earnest request that please let the investigation take its course to bring facts to the public rather than defaming my son before the completion of the inquiries,” the minister said.
Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2018