Pakistan child sexual abuse: Lahore High Court turns down request for judicial inquiry
Pakistan's judiciary has rejected a request by the Punjab government to form a judicial commission to probe the country's biggest child abuse scandal involving nearly 300 children.
Lahore: Pakistan's judiciary has rejected a request by the Punjab government to form a judicial commission to probe the country's biggest child abuse scandal involving nearly 300 children, citing the ongoing police investigation.
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik has declined the request for a judicial inquiry into the scandal in Punjab's Kasur district, bordering India.
"Police are already investigating the cases, as such, there is no justification to hold a judicial inquiry or to nominate District & Sessions Judge Kasur for the said purpose," says a letter written by LHC Registrar to Home Secretary. The Home Secretary, on behalf of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, had sent a reference to the Chief Justice for holding a judicial inquiry into the incident following an outcry by civil society members, opposition parties and media to "thoroughly investigate" the matter.
At least 280 children were filmed being sexually abused by a gang who used the videos to blackmail their parents in Ganda Singh village, some 50 kilometres from Lahore.
The Chief Justice noted that FIRs against certain suspects have been registered, some of them were on pre-arrest bail and some have been arrested and were on remand, which showed that the matter was already being investigated by the police."The request is, therefore, declined," he said.
Meanwhile, police have arrested four more suspects whose bails were cancelled by the district court Kasur yesterday. The police have arrested 15 accused in seven FIRs registered over 20 suspects for sodomy, rape, blackmail and extortion charges. Prime accused Hasib Aamir has been arrested and remanded to police custody for interrogation.
"Aamir has confessed to have committed sexual assaults on a number of children and blackmailed their parents," said Kasur Police chief Rai Babar.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has demanded prompt investigation, prosecution and effective steps to save the children from sexual violence.
"HRCP is horrified to learn of the child sexual abuse saga in Kasur. There might be some ambiguity as to the number of children targeted, the time when the abuse took place, and whether a property dispute was involved, although how that makes the matter any less horrific is lost on us, but it is now certain that many children had been abused and their abuse filmed," it said.
"The plight of these children deserves nothing less than a prompt and professional investigation- which must be free from interference and influence -— and prosecution."
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