LAHORE: The Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) police arrested on Sunday former Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) leader Mufti Azizur Rehman from Mianwali for his involvement in a sexual abuse case and also picked up his two sons for threatening to kill the complainant.

The North Cantonment police had on June 17 registered a case under charges of sexual assault and criminal intimidation against Mufti Rehman, his sons Altafur Rehman and Atiqur Rehman and three accomplices on the complaint of a student of Jamia Manzoorul Islam, Cantonment.

The student had shared a video clip of the sexual assault as a proof some days ago with police and the administration of the seminary. The clip took social media by storm with growing calls for strict action.

CIA police arrest suspects in Mianwali

Senior police officials referred the case to CIA for investigation and arrest of the suspects.

CIA’s SSP Shoaib Khurrum Janbaz constituted a team led by Model Town CIA DSP Hasnain Haider which conducted raids in Lahore but the suspects evaded arrest. Finally, police arrested them from Mianwali and brought them here.

Punjab’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) Inam Ghani said police would take it as a test case. “We want our kids protected from such people and… our society safe,” he tweeted.

Earlier, in his complaint the student had alleged that Mufti Rehman had got him and another student expelled on the charge of cheating in examinations of Wafaqul Madaris for three years.

He said he pleaded with the Mufti to allow him to take the examination by removing charges against him, but he sought sexual favours for doing so. “I had no option but to submit to his demand,” he said.

“For three years, the Mufti would assault me on Fridays. When I complained to the seminary administration, no one would believe me.”

The student said he later started recording the episodes on his mobile phone and showed it to the Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia nazim. “After that, Mufti Rehman and his sons started threatening me with dire consequences, even threatening to take my life,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mufti Rehman released a video message on social media in which he claimed his innocence. He said the boy in the video had drugged him, after which he was not in his senses.

To support his claim, the Mufti argued that had he been in his senses how could anyone have filmed the act by using a mobile phone. “This is a conspiracy to have me removed from the seminary.”

On June 3, Jamia Manzoorul Islam showed the door to Mufti Rehman and his sons. “On the basis of the complaint, and after consulting the administration, you have been relieved of your duties,” the letter issued by the seminary to Mufti Rehman said.

According to the latest report by NGO Sahil, at least eight children were abused every day last year, an increase of four per cent when compared to the previous year.

“But these were the reported cases only. Social and cultural taboos, or the fear of reprisal, prevent victims or their families from coming forward and reporting a range of abuse — from rape, pornography to sodomy, etc,” it said.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2021

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