Punjab

Kasur video scandal: ATC awards life sentences to three accused

The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore sentenced three accused for their involvement in the horrific Kasur child sexual abuse scandal to life imprisonment on Tuesday.
The ATC-II sentenced Haseem Ahmed, Waseem Sindhi and Aleem Asif to life imprisonment along with a Rs300,000 fine each.
The gang which operated between 2006 and 2014, victimised hundreds of children in Kasur by forcing them to perform sexual acts on camera and later blackmailing the families. In August 2015 a local reporter broke the news about the gang’s activities about the gang of almost two dozen men who had abused as many 280 children from the Hussainwala village and filmed 400 videos.
A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted to probe the video scandal confirmed 20 victims of child sexual abuse at the time. However, the Human Rights Commission of Paksitan (HRCP) in a report stated that a much larger number of children were victims of the crime.
One of the victim’s father even paid a over one million rupees after he was threatened that the video would be posted online.
Over a dozen men were arrested after multiple families came forward and registered official complaints with the police.
The cases were taken up by the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) and in 2016 two men, Haseem Amir and Faizan Majeed were awarded life sentences under Pakistan Penal Code Section 377 and 385 and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act with additional penalty of paying Rs300,000 to each of the victims. Failure to pay the penalties would result in further sentencing.
Haseem Amir one of the main accused was nominated in two cases (FIR 250 and 280) however one of the complainants later withdrew the statement under pressure from the convict.
Prosecution in the case had provided photogrammetric test evidence which identified both Haseem and Faizan were performing unnatural acts with the victims.
In 2016, a five-member JIT team led by DIG Abu Bakar Khuda Baksh found 19 sodomy victims. The findings were released after the team members investigated 31 FIRs, interviewed more than 400 people – some of them repeatedly – and examined a total of 47 video-clips and 72 photos in the light of Punjab Forensic Science report.
The JIT had presented a challan of a total of 17 persons as accused. Out of these, 10 were charged for sodomy and seven under other charges such as criminal intimidation and fraud.
The Kasur child sexual abuse scandal brought shame to the country on the international level. It was termed the biggest scandal of its nature in the country’s history claiming that approximately 400 videos were made of 280 minor victims by an organised gang comprising 25 members.