By: Qaiser Butt
ISLAMABAD: While investigating a case of child sexual abuse and pornography at Kahuta, the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has observed that the role of police prosecutors and medical officers has been disappointing in most such cases.
“The accused involved in most of such cases could not be sentenced by the courts due to criminal negligence on the part of police prosecutors and medical officers,” the NCHR Chairman Justice (retd) Ali Nawaz Chohan observed on Tuesday, during a public hearing of Kahuta case.
He said prosecutors failed to pursue the cases in the courts for years – a situation that encouraged the offenders to commit such offences again.
“In many similar cases the medico-legal reports were manipulated in favour of the accused. Corrupt practices by the medical officers have also encouraged the criminals, who can influence the medical officer with money or other means,” he said.
Referring to his past experience as a high court judge in Punjab, Chohan said people pay heavy amount of money to be posted as a medical officer. “Had five or six accused involved in child sexual abuse and pornography cases been convicted by the courts, the reoccurrence of such crime would have been minimised up to a large extent,” he said.
He urged the parents of victim children and civil society to check such corrupt practices by adopting a procedure of follow up that is guaranteed under the relevant laws.
The commission would continue its investigations into Kahuta child sexual abuse and pornography case before preparing a comprehensive report, he added. The case surfaced on August 12 after Kahuta police arrested three persons on the complaint of a young student, Hassan Ali, who had accused them of sexual abuse.
During probe, the police found that the three accused – Adnan Satti alias Bangsh, Haseeb Arshad and Ehtesham – were members of an organised gang of criminals involved in child sexual abuse and pornography.
The NCHR had to intervene in the case on an application by a rights activist, Khawar Riaz Qadri who had alleged that the police role in the probe was not up to the legal requirements. The activist had presented evidence of the existence of the gang in parts of Kahuta for five years.
Before presenting the case challan in the court, police arrested another accused Waqar Saati, who is also a brother of the principal accused Adnan Satti. However, Waqar managed to get bail from a court with the argument that he was not nominated in the FIR. Originally the police had booked the accused only under section 377 PPC (applicable against the unnatural offence) but it had to add other sections of the laws relevant to the offence of pornography on the instruction of the NCHR.
On the insistence of Qadri, the police also added in the FIR some unknown persons, who were also involved in the crime. The commission has so far recorded statements of the DSP and the SHO who could not satisfy it on many issues.