Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Saturday took notice of state-run shelter Kashana Lahore’s superintendent’s allegation that the facility was being used to supply underage girls to powerful ministers of the Punjab government.
The woman, identified as Afshan Latif, claims she is being persecuted by the government for bringing the matter to light.
In a series of videos shared across social media over the past few days, Latif claims she was responsible for overseeing Kashana Lahore (otherwise known as Darul Amaan) since April this year. She replaced the previous superintendent who was accused of bringing strangers (men) inside Kashana late at night. However, even after her appointment, Latif alleged that illegal practices continued at the center. In this regard, Latif filed a complaint to her department against the Director-General of Kashana, Afshan Kiran Imtiaz. The complaint alleged that Imtiaz was pressuring Latif to marry underage girls to high-ranking officials.
Instead of taking actions against powerful ministers, the Government of Punjab has arrested the superintendent of women shelter homes and her husband because she exposed ministers who wanted little orphan girls for sexual abuse. Letters were written to Chief Minister Punjab and Dr Pervez Chairman Chief Minister inquiry team by Superintendent Kashana Lahore. The ages of the destitute girls were between 15 to 17 years-old, and they were forcefully married off to favored bureaucrats and a provincial minister, Latif alleged in her video message.
She further claimed that an inquiry was launched on her complaint by the inspection team of Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar. Latif was suspended from her post by the inspection team after she filed the complaint in the very first phase of the inquiry. However, Imtiaz was also removed from her post by CM Buzdar. Latif claims that the inquiry team is continuously putting pressure on her to force her to step back from her complaint and statements.
Latif further added that she refused to back off from her complaint. On doing so, the budget of the shelter in Lahore was ceased and the destitute girls residing there were left helpless without clothing, food and education. In one video, Latif claimed that she was arrested along with her husband by the Punjab police.
A representative of the government of Punjab published a statement on Twitter in which it was clarified that an inquiry had been started following the allegations of forced marriages taking place in Kashana.