Senate body wants JIT to probe ‘paedophile’ case

Updated December 10, 2019

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The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication was informed on Monday that the Punjab police would not forward the child abuse case against Sohail Ayaz to the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). — APP/File
The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication was informed on Monday that the Punjab police would not forward the child abuse case against Sohail Ayaz to the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication was informed on Monday that the Punjab police would not forward the child abuse case against Sohail Ayaz to the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The suspected paedophile, Sohail, has been accused of sexually abusing several children.

After finding that several federal government agencies and two provinces were dealing with the case, the Senate committee demanded constitution of a JIT (joint investigation team) to speed up the probe.

Committee chairperson Rubina Khalid, while expressing concern over developments in the case, said that the policy of appeasement in such cases must be stopped.

“There is limited progress in the case and all departments seem to be working in silos… we need to work collectively and bring up the progress report to inform the committee about their limitations,” she said.

The chairperson and members of the committee expressed concern over non-availability of the record of Sohail’s deportation from the United Kingdom. In the Nov 25 meeting of the committee, they had asked the FIA to inform the committee as to how the accused was able to evade formalities and documentation when he arrived in Pakistan from the UK.

“We had urged FIA to inform us about the procedure how deportees are treated and that is there any record of deported persons,” Ms Khalid said.

Senator Taj Afridi presented a newsletter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Pakistan (ICAP) showing that it had suspended Sohail Ayaz’s membership for five years in 2011.

“It was during the period from 2014 to 2016 when he was hired as a consultant by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government,” Senator Afridi said.

An FIA official, while presenting the point of view of his organisation, said the agency could not take any action in isolation. Either the case has to be referred by the Punjab police or a complaint has to be lodged to the FIA’s cybercrime wing, he added.

Rawalpindi SSP (investigation) Mohammad Faisal informed the committee that there was proof that Sohail used to give drugs to the children he had abused. DNA and medical reports of the victims have shown that they have been abused by Sohail and another culprit. More than 100,000 pictures of the victims have been recovered from Sohail’s laptop, he added.

The committee directed the FIA to contact Interpol to determine the quantum of uploads on ‘dark web’ from Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019