Rape charge through video clip: Punjab IG Prisons moves FIA against woman ‘prisoner’

Updated 23 May 2020

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An unidentified female prisoner has alleged that prisoners are being raped in Lahore's district jail. — AFP/File
An unidentified female prisoner has alleged that prisoners are being raped in Lahore's district jail. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Punjab Prisons Inspector General Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig has sought action of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against the ‘unknown lady prisoner’ who levelled allegations of rape against a senior officer of his department.

The unidentified woman prisoner, in her recorded video clip, leveled allegations of rape against a DIG of prisons with involvement of other officers. She said ‘abortion of babies’ would follow if any victim got pregnant.

She alleged the district jail Lahore’s staff had been taking women prisoners to the office of the deputy inspector general (DIG) to “sexually please him”.

She appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of it and visit jails. She demanded an impartial investigation into her allegations and action against the guilty officers.

The video clip got viral on social media, showing the woman with covered face levelling serious allegations against a DIG in Punjabi language.

The IG Prisons rejected the allegations, declaring it an attempt by some elements to defame the department and its officers. He said the prisons department had approached the FIA for action against the woman and the perpetrators behind the malicious propaganda against his department officers.

He shared with Dawn a copy of the written complaint the prisons department had submitted to the FIA’s cyber wing for action.

In the complaint, Punjab DIG Prisons Lahore Region Mubashar Ahmad Khan, on the behalf of the IG Prisons, demanded a forensic audit of the video clip of the woman prisoner.

The prisons department expressed doubt on the background voice, stating that “voice changer device” might have been used in the video clip to target the DIG and other officials for some ulterior motives.

The DIG, in his complaint to the FIA, said first of all, the district jail was not housing any lady prisoner. Secondly, there was a 16km distance between the office of the DIG in question and the district jail.

“As many as 195 closed-circuit television cameras have been installed by national radio and television corporation and prisons department at the district jail,” said the DIG in the complaint.

These CCTV cameras functioned for 24/7 surveillance, recording movement of all the prisoners and the staff and in the presence of these gadgets in the highly sensitive zone, it was out of question to take any prisoner out of the jail, he said and added that other jails in Lahore were also being monitored under the similar system.

The DIG said all the women prisoners were being kept separately in the Central Jail in the double lock system and the said premises was manned by all the women officials or employees.

The Punjab Prisons Department has demanded action against the woman or the persons who were behind the allegation.

Meanwhile, another official,seeking anonymity, told Dawn that the recent video clip might be the result of ‘politics’ in the prisons department. He said there was a grouping in the department, involving many senior officers, to clinch top slots and the video might have been made in this context.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2020