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Caught in the act

October 19, 2012

THE CCTV system is there to nab terrorists, thieves, shoplifters and other criminals. But here it has the habit of shooting the powerful in action. In Lahore alone, the CCTV has been guilty of spying on a PML-N lawmaker breaking the norms at the airport. It has also disclosed a credit card fraud, again involving a PML-N lawmaker. In its latest trick the CCTV has captured Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s daughter at a bakery, her finger raised at a young man identified as an employee. Further footage shows a youth being slapped and kicked by plainclothesmen outside the same bakery, watched closely by sleuths in Elite Force uniform. There is said to be a few hours’ gap between the two incidents but the two were linked in an FIR which took a whole nine days to lodge.

The FIR was registered on Oct 16 — only after the chief minister took notice of the incident upon his return from a foreign trip. By then, courtesy of the footage, there were plenty of people questioning why no case had been registered against Mr Sharif’s daughter. She is not seen in the footage where the boy is being beaten but allegations are that the thrashing was connected to her visit to the bakery a few hours earlier. Police and the PML-N have tried to de-link her from the affair; meanwhile her husband, who is not to be seen in either footage, courted arrest on Wednesday. This rather unexplained arrest came amid a rising chorus for equality before the law. The case is being dubbed as a test of Mr Sharif’s principles and casts a shadow on his politics. Those who have tried to get him over his Danish school delicacies — opponents who couldn’t quite stomach his sasti roti — are keen instead to have cake at his expense.