MANSEHRA: Police lodged on Monday a criminal case for child molestation, which reportedly occurred in a remote village near Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Mansehra district a few days back.
A teenage boy had been sexually molested and filmed by Shahzeb, Banaras and Ishfaq, who later uploaded the video clips of the sickening act on social media, police sources told The Express Tribune on Monday.
While the suspects are still at large, a medical examination of the victim has confirmed the sexual assault.
“M*, the 14-year-old son of A*, was on his way back home from school when the three accused intercepted him near Dadar village,” Shinkiari police said while quoting the victim’s father.
The suspects dragged M* to the forest area where they took turns to sexually assault him while one of them filmed the scene, he said, adding the accused had asked his son to keep silent and bring jewellery from home, threatening him to upload the content online if he did not abide by their instructions.
The victim did not inform anyone about the incident for three days until the suspected shared the footage of the incident on social media, prompting the villagers to talk to his parents and other relatives about it.
Subsequently, the police lodged a criminal case under Sections 377, 355, 292/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on request of the victim’s father against the three men but have so far failed to arrest them.
Incidents of sexual violence are rampant in parts of country, especially in rural areas, where victims hesitate to report such cases to the police owing to the risk of earning a bad name for their family.
In August last year, around 280 children in some remote villages of Punjab’s Kasur district were targeted in a criminal operation that began in 2006.
The acts of abuse were filmed and then sold to paedophiles on the internet and locally. The children who were targeted were reportedly blackmailed and coerced into stealing jewellery and money from their own homes. Families eventually learnt of the crime when several children confessed to their parents.
Following the uproar, a joint investigation team formed to probe the incident later interviewed over 400 witnesses and found that evidence in 19 sodomy cases was credible.
The JIT found 47 video clips and 72 photos presented as evidence were four to five years old. In its report, it said there was a gang that worked together to produce the material but there was no evidence that it was uploaded to the internet or used to extort money from the victims. The JIT also found a linkage of the sexual abuse incidents and a land dispute.
*Names have been removed to protect identity.