Four men arrested on Thursday on charges of fraud from a camp they had set up to register unemployed youth were on Friday released on bail.
Two women were also arrested from the camp but no case was registered against them and they were released with a warning.
Muhammad Arif Nadeem, Mureed Husain, Rizwan Akhtar and Umar Rasheed were accused of cheating people out of money at the camp on Narwala Road ‘for registration of unemployed youth of the city’. They were also accused of helping some of the people forge academic diplomas.
The FIR was registered under Sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as a forged document) of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section 3 of the Amplifier Act.
AC (City) Zaheer Anwar Jappa, who ordered the FIR, told The Express Tribune that action was taken against the suspects on the directive of the district coordination officer, Nasim Sadiq. He said they (the suspects) were swindling people and threatening law and order by chanting slogans against the government.
DCO Sadiq said he had received complaints that the suspects had set up a camp without seeking permission from the administration where they were swindling people.
Some supporters of the suspects denied the charge at a protest rally in front of the Civil Secretariat on Thursday.
They said the suspects, like them, had been jobless since finishing their degrees. They said they had recently gathered under the banner of Movement for Registration of Unemployed Persons (Tehreek Baraye Berozgaran) to seek redress for their problems. The camp on Narwala Road, they said, was an initiative to document unemployed people in the city before starting a campaign for employment.
Rashid Khalid, who was leading the protesters, alleged that before arresting the four men the police team had vandalised the stall and beaten up those seeking membership of the organisation. He said the police had also taken away record of people applying for membership.
Khalid denied that they were swindling people. He said the organisation was receiving only Rs20 per application to set up an office. “This is a one-time contribution we demand from our members to help expand operations. We aim to eventually be able to document unemployed people all over the country,” he said.
He said before the police raid, the organisation had registered more than 1,800 people at the camp in 16 hours. Most of them were graduates in information technology, business administration and accounting and finance, he added.
Khalid said the registration of jobless people was meant to provide them with a platform to start a campaign for their rights. He said currently they were registering only those jobless people with at least a bachelors’ degree.
Talking to The Tribune, some of the members of the organisation said they had been unemployed since finishing studies.
Muhammad Aslam, said he had a master’s in business administration in finance. He said he finished his degree two years ago and had since been unemployed.
Muhammad Ismaeel, another unemployed protester, said he was a graduate in telecom engineering.
Talking to The Tribune, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah expressed ignorance about the incident. He said he would order an inquiry into the arrests of the four men whenever he received a complaint about it.
Former leader of opposition in the Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Zaheerud Din said registration of cases for those raising voice against unemployment was condemnable. He said he would raise the issue in the next session of the Punjab Assembly.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.