JIT formed to grill cleric facing rape charges

Probe team’s initial progress report to be submitted in court today


Our Correspondent September 01, 2021

RAWALPINDI:

Rawalpindi police on Tuesday constituted a six-member joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate a seminary cleric facing charges of harassing and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl student.

Earlier, Rawalpindi Civil Judge Nausheen Zartaj had directed the police to form the JIT to probe Mufti Shahnawaz — the principal of Jamia Tuba Ziaul Binnat in the Pirwadhai area — facing charges of torturing and sexually assaulting the 12-year-old girl of his seminary

The JIT will be headed by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Investigation while SP Zuniera Azfar, SP Ziauddin Ahmed, City DSP Asar Ali, Pirwadhai SHO Owais and Investigating Officer (IO) Sub-Inspector Aslam will be its members.

Sources said that the JIT formally launched the probe into the case and recorded statements of Mufti Shahnawaz, his alleged accomplice and wife Ishrat Bibi and the victim girl.

The 12-year-old victim’s statement, she recorded before a magistrate, has also been presented before the JIT. The initial JIT progress report will be submitted to the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Malik Aijaz Asif on Wednesday (today).

The court has also summoned DNA reports of the suspect and victim.

Meanwhile, Rawalpindi City Police Officer (CPO) Ahsan Younas chaired a meeting to review the progress in the case. The meeting decided that the victim and the accused would undergo polygraph tests while the primary suspect will also undergo a potency test.

The CPO directed JIT members to fulfil all legal requirements to ensure investigation on merit and uncover facts with solid evidence.

Earlier, Mufti Shahnawaz Ahmed denied the allegation of torturing and sexually assaulting a student of his seminary.

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Talking to The Express Tribune, the accused had claimed that the allegations against him were concocted and baseless that aimed to tarnish his image. He demanded that he and the student should be taken to the hospital for an immediate DNA and polygraph medical test so that a clear picture could emerge. He said that if he was found guilty in the DNA test, he would be ready to be hanged at Liaquat Bagh publicly.

The cleric also demanded the DNA tests of close cousins of the affected student.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2021.

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