RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi police on Friday said that based on information provided by the ringleader of an international child pornography ring, they had managed to apprehend his accomplice and recovered a child from his possession who has been missing for two months.
Rawalpindi City Police Officer (CPO) Faisal Rana told the media on Friday that Sohail Ayaz, alias Ali, who has been on in police custody on physical remand, had abducted a 12-year-old egg seller AK*.
Rana said that according to the boy, Ayaz had abducted him and kept him in illegal detention for two months. During this time, the boy alleged that Ayaz repeatedly subjected him to rape and molestation while he also filmed the heinous acts and posted them onto the internet. Moreover, he said that the suspect also drugged him with crystal methamphetamine (commonly known as ice).
Then, he handed him over to his accomplice, Khurram alias Kala who also molested him.
Rana said that based on information provided by Ayaz, the Rawat police arrested Khurram and recovered AK from his possession.
“The child is so innocent that, despite being sexually abused for two months, he was still referring to the suspect as ‘Ali Bhai’,” the CPO said.
Kala, Rana said, had told police that Ayaz was the mastermind of a child porn ring that operates on the dark web. Moreover, Kala allegedly told police that Ayaz used to deal in drugs such as marijuana and ice while he was also allegedly involved in pimping children.
The CPO said that they have managed to recover Ayaz’s car which he used to lure children to and then abduct them.
He added that they will contact the families of all the children who became victims of Ayaz and Khurram.
Moreover, the CPO said that they have compiled a comprehensive report regarding the crimes committed by Ayaz and sent it to the Punjab government. The report traces Ayaz’s history and how he had first married in 2001. He divorced his wife three years later. In 2006, he married again but divorced her as well.
The suspect used to work for the international non-governmental organization (INGO) Save the Children. The report states that in November 2017, the accused started working as a consultant for the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Planning and Development Department.
He was arrested on November 13, 2019, on charges of making immoral videos of children and uploading them onto the internet.
After his arrest, he was dismissed from his job.
Police said that the modus operandi of the suspect was to target poor children such as garbage collectors and tea boys. The suspect filmed how he lured children to his home by promising to provide them with work. Once there, the report said that Ayaz used to drug the children with narcotics such as ice or heroin. He would then rape the children as they lay unconscious or under the heavy influence of drugs while recording the ordeal.
Several such videos were also recovered from the suspect’s mobile phone and laptop while these items have been handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for further investigation.
Registry for sex offenders
Separately, the Ministry of Human Rights will set up a registry of sexual offenders in the country and connect it with similar registries which have been established in other countries so that criminals involved in sexual abuse can be checked for prompt action.
This was disclosed by the Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari on Friday while speaking in the National Assembly.
Referring to Ayaz’s case, she stated that he was hired as a consultant by a body funding a project in K-P.
She suggested that project implementation agencies should insert a clause in their rules which ban the employment of such people.
Responding to a calling attention notice regarding violation of children’s rights resulting in millions of children living in poverty, disability, lack of education, malnutrition, child labour and forced beggary she said that a National Child Labour Survey, launched by her ministry, will be completed by June 2020.
“To collect scientific data on child labour, the Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has launched a National Child Labour Survey.”
Dr Mazari said that the empirical data collected in the survey will help not only address the real issues but also to devise a comprehensive policy for combating such menace in the society.
“MoHR is determined to devise result-oriented policies based on the data,” she explained.
Mazari added that the government is committed to improving children’s rights in the country, and implement international conventions on child labour.
“It is our priority to ensure the endowment of education and health to children across the country,” she said, adding, “Beyond rhetoric, they have to take pragmatic steps to eliminate child labour and to improve their living standards, our constitution grantees to provide the fundamental rights to the children.”
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP
*NAMES WITHHELD TO PROTECT IDENTITY
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2019.