Government’s complacency responsible for surge in heinous crime?

Published: 09:51 AM, 24 Aug, 2021
Government’s complacency responsible for surge in heinous crime?
Caption: Representational image.
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Although all kinds of crimes are committed in every society, in Pakistan moral crimes are on the rise, a development that will tarnish the image of the ‘fortress of Islam’ across the globe. 

On Monday, a newspaper reported that a 12-year-old girl in Rawalpindi was allegedly sexually assaulted and tortured by her madrassa (seminary) administrator with the help of his female colleague. 

In a first information report (FIR) lodged with the Pirwadhai police station, the victim’s mother stated that her daughter had been studying in the madrassa for the last seven years. 

She said one day she received a call from the seminary administration, informing her that her daughter had fallen unconscious and added that when she was brought home there were bruises on her face. 

“As soon as my daughter reached home, she hugged me and started crying,” she said. 

Upon asking, the victim told her that Mufti Shahnawaz Ahmed, the administrator of the madrassa, had been harassing her for the last five months. 

He also tried to sexually abuse her and threatened her of dire consequences. He said he would “cut her into pieces and drain it into the nullah” if she told anyone about it. 

Out of fear, the victim did not disclose her ordeal to anyone. 

The complainant further stated that one day Mufti’s colleague - Ishrat - took her daughter to Mufti Shahnawaz’s room, where he tried to rape her and when she resisted they tortured her and forced her to drink a “tea-like drink”, which left her unconscious. 

After that she had no idea what was happening to her, she added. 

This is the second incident of sexual nature reported from a religious seminary. Unfortunately, two Muftis are involved in them.  

A few weeks ago, the Lahore police had registered a case against Mufti Azizur Rehman of Jamia Manzoorul Islamia after a video clip showing the cleric allegedly sexually assaulting one of his students was widely shared on social media. 

The case was registered at the North Cantt police station on the complaint of S* under Section 377 (unnatural offences) and Section 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code. 

According to the complainant, Mufti Azizur Rehman had accused him and another student of cheating by getting someone else to sit for the exams. On this the complainant was banned from giving exams at the Wafaqul Madaris for three years. 

He said that he pleaded to Mufti Rehman, but the latter was unmoved.  Reportedly, Mufti Rehman told him that he might be able to think of something if he engaged in sexual activities and "made him happy", the victim said. He said he had no choice but to be subjected to sexual assault

"Mufti Rehman claimed that the ban would be removed and that he would also pass me in the exams. But despite a passage of three years, during which I was assaulted every Friday, he did nothing and started to blackmail me more," S* said. 

The victim said he complained to the madrassah's administration but they refused to believe him as Mufti Rehman was an "elderly and a pious man". 

S* said this was when he began recording the abuse and showed it to Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia nazim. "After this, Mufti Rehman started threatening me with dire consequences as well as my life," he said. 

He said because of audio and video recordings, the administration of the Jamia Manzoorul Islamia removed Mufti Rehman which angered the cleric. He added that he was now being threatened by Mufti Rehman. 

On the Independence Day, a female TikToker – Ayesha Akram - was assaulted at the Mianr-i-Pakistan by a crowd of males, an incident which is continuously being highlighted by the media.  

The police have arrested dozens of suspects while video clip of sexual assault on the victim went viral. It showed the helpless and terrified woman was subjected to a horrifying ordeal and some youngsters tearing off her clothes. 

On Tuesday, media reported that The Nawab Town police arrested a rickshaw driver and his accomplice hours after they allegedly raped a woman and her teenage daughter in fields in the area of Chuhng police. 

The rickshaw driver had a history of sexually assaulting women. 

Police said the woman and her daughter came to Lahore from Vehari and from Thokar Niaz Beg hired a rickshaw to reach their relatives residing in the Cantonment area of Lahore. 

While traveling, the woman told the rickshaw driver that she was in the town to get ration from her relatives. 

The driver and his accomplice lured them into the “ration amounts from a rich man” and took them to a deserted area of Abdul Sattar Edhi Road where they raped them in fields and hurled dire consequences for raising alarm. Both later fled the scene, leaving the rickshaw at the spot when they noticed a car was coming to the crime scene. 

The alleged rapists also snatched some money and a mobile phone from the women. 

The matter was later reported to the police and soon the DIG investigation and the Saddar SP supervised the case. 

A rape case was registered against both the arrested persons. 

The question is why such incidents are taking place so rapidly during the PTI rule? 

While the ulema and scholars belonging to various walks of life are in a better position to identify the factors responsible for the surge in the evil trend, the government’s failure to award deterrent punishments to such characters is one of them. Had some people already awarded capital punishment because of their involvement in heinous crimes been hanged in public the crime graph would have nosedived and nobody would have picked up the courage to involve himself in such an activity. 

The impact of public hanging was seen during the Gen Zia’s era. A boy – Pappu- was kidnapped from Baghbanpura area and a few days later, his body was recovered from a nearby Pakistan Railways pond.  

The kidnappers were caught, awarded capital punishment by a military court and then hanged in public. Their corpses were left hanging in full public view for a whole day. Later, some culprits involved in similar crimes were also hanged in public in Sahiwal, Mianwali and Faisalabad. 

The public hangings served as a deterrent and crime graph came down drastically for a long time to come.    

Regrettably, at present Pakistan has more than 4,600 prisoners on death row, one of the world’s largest populations facing execution.  

They are not being hanged because of reasons best known to the government

This trend emboldens the would-be culprits.  

Because of this ‘kind’ attitude of the government Pakistan is turning into a safe haven for the killers, murderers, rapists.

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.