A day after his arrest from Mianwali, former JUI-F leader and cleric Mufti Azizur Rehman confessed to sexually assaulting a student during interrogation, police said on Monday.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) investigations Shariq Jamal Khan, while speaking to Dawn.com, said the cleric had confessed that the incident's video, which went viral on social media a few days ago, had featured him and was secretly filmed by the student who was being sexually abused.
"I made the student a target of my lust with the lure of passing him [in his exams]," he admitted to the police. The cleric added that he was afraid and worried once the video went viral on social media and his sons had attempted to threaten the student and stop him from mentioning the incident to anyone.
"I released the video statement because I did not want to leave the madrassah. The madrassah administration had already told me to leave," the DIG quoted him as saying. Rehman admitted that he had been hiding in Mianwali and was arrested by the police after being traced through his cellphone.
"I am very ashamed at what I did," he said during the interrogation.
The DIG said that all medical and forensic evidence was being collected in the case and "we will try to present a strong challan to secure a punishment." He added that the cleric's sons were also accused of making death threats.
The DIG also said that any other affected citizen could reach out and contact the police, adding that there was substantial evidence to prosecute in the case. He said that a life sentence or a prison term of up to 10 years was possible in the case.
Prime Minister Imran Khan himself had taken notice of the case, said the DIG, and was in contact with police officials prior to the cleric's arrest. "[The] Punjab IG (inspector general of police) informed him about the arrest."
On Monday, the cleric was presented in a local court in Lahore by the North Cantonment police which requested Rehman's physical remand for interrogating him.
A judicial magistrate presided over the hearing and remanded him in police custody for four days. Orders were also given to collect DNA and medical samples.
Rehman was brought to Lahore from Mianwali where he was arrested by a team of the Crime Investigation Agency during a raid. The arrest had come a day after a spokesperson for the Lahore police said that Rehman had "escaped" and that officials were working on tracing the suspect.
Last week, police had registered a case against Rehman after a harrowing video clip of him allegedly sexually assaulting one of his students was widely shared on social media.
The North Cantonment police had registered a case against Mufti Rehman for sexually assaulting the student and his three sons for attacking the complainant with the intention to exact revenge. The case was lodged against them with non-compoundable and non-bailable offences and with punishment of imprisonment of up to seven years.