KARACHI: Voices from both political and civil society circles are demanding that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government reverse the appointment of Iftikhar Lund as the focal person for human rights in Sindh following allegations of sexual abuse against the local party leader.
In a video which went viral two months ago, a former employee of Lund accused the latter of beating him up and sexually assaulting him with a metal object in the presence of a ‘large gathering’.
As soon as the notification announcing Lund’s appointment was issued on July 10, people from all walks of life condemned the move on social media.
“Instead of giving punishment, the PTI government, which claims to make a new Pakistan, has rewarded the human rights office to a man who violates human rights. This is intolerable,” said Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, the chairman of the Senate panel on human rights. Khokhar has sought a report on the incident from Ghotki police.
Labour rights activist Shuja Qureshi, who has been pursuing the case since day one, said: “There is no sense in this decision. I wonder why the PTI gave this post to such an ugly feudal character.” According to Qureshi, Lund pressured his alleged victim into settling the matter out of court.
Lund himself has denied the allegations and claimed they are part of a smear campaign against him motivated by his stance against Pakistan Peoples Party’s support for feudalism. “A fake case was registered against me and it has been disposed of by the court. I had no part in any torture. Some other employees who worked for me carried out the assault. The issue has been resolved and I am innocent,” he told The Express Tribune.
The alleged torture took place after certain individuals lodged a complaint against the employee with Lund. “Some people told Lund that the employee, who worked as a driver for his passenger van company, had harassed some women passengers,” said Ghotki journalist Abdul Hae. “Upon hearing the complaint, Lund and some of his employees beat the driver up.”
According to Hae, however, the reports of sexual assault are exaggerated. He claimed Lund and his employees only physically assaulted the driver. Police have registered a case against Lund and his employees who carried out the assault under sections 324 and 255.
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