GUJRAT: Police claimed on Wednesday to have arrested four people involved in the kidnap and physical torture of Allama Nasir Madni.

The suspects are said to be the devotees of another spiritual figure, Pir Haq Khateeb, of Rawalpindi’s Kotli Satian tehsil, said police.

Asad Gujjar, the spokesman for the Gujrat police, told Dawn that the suspects had been identified through closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) and other techniques by the Kharian circle police. The suspects had been arrested and weapons also recovered from them.

He said those arrested were Ghulam Rabbani and Ali Abbas of Dhoria village near Kharian, Nazim Hussain of Ghunsia village and Asif Iqbal of Malakwal tehsil of Mandi Bahauddin.

Police have yet to arrest the main nominated suspect, Rizwan, who had actually invited Mr Madni through calling him on WhatsApp to a restaurant of Kharian city for offering special prayers for him.

Devotees of another spiritual figure turn out to be suspects

According to the case registered with the Mozang police in Lahore, Allama Nasir alleged that Rizwan had insisted him to visit him in Kharian where on March 16 the (suspect) hosted a lunch reception at a restaurant along GT Road. He also insisted, said the complainant, to visit his house at nearby village of Banorian along Kharian-Dinga Road.

When the complainant reached there, around a dozen armed men appeared and subjected him to severe physical torture after stripping him and recorded his film.

The complainant also alleged that the suspects had snatched all his mobile phones and forcibly got passwords of his social media apps besides getting his signature on a blank paper during which they remained in touch with someone over phone and told all the passwords of his social media accounts that had been hacked in the meanwhile.

The case was registered under sections 365 and 392 of Pakistan Penal Code and Motion Pictures Ordinance 1979-80 against the suspects on the report of Allama Madni.

Police said that as per initial investigation the suspects were found to be the devotees/ followers of renowned spiritual figure Haq Khateeb alias Phoonko Wali Sarkar of Balawara Sharif in Rawalpindi. “The spiritual leader treats his devotees suffering from physical and mental issues besides solving their other problems through the traditional practice,” said police.

Police said Allama Madni had recently uploaded his video on his social media accounts in which he made a mockery of Haq Kahteeb. The jibes, they said, infuriated the followers of the spiritual figure and they kidnapped and tortured Mr Madni.

Police said those arrested would he handed over to the Lahore police.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2020