LAHORE: After more than a delay of an year, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has finally registered a first information report (FIR) against an “unknown lady prisoner” who had leveled allegations of rape against one of the most senior officers of the Punjab Prisons.
Additional Inspector General of the Punjab Prisons Ahmad Naveed Gondal, on behalf of the Punjab Inspectorate General of Prisons, last year had approached the cybercrime wing of the FIA seeking action against an “unidentified woman prisoner” who uploaded a video clip on social media by concealing her identity and alleged that she and other female inmates were repeatedly raped by a DIG of prisons and his other accomplices.
With her face completely covered, the lady in her video, making rounds on social media since last week, alleged in the Punjabi language that the district jail Lahore’s officials had been taking women prisoners to the office of DIG Malik Mubashir Ahmed Khan to “sexually please” him. She claimed that “abortion of babies” would follow if any victim got pregnant.
She appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of it and visit jails. She also demanded an impartial investigation into her allegations and action against the guilty officers. When the clip caught attention of public demanding stricter punishment for the guilty officers, Punjab Prisons Minister Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan came to the defence of the DIG and other officials and termed the video a “conspiracy” against the “honest” officers. He said the same video was went viral on social media platforms last year by the same woman and now “a well-knitted conspiracy” is once again being hatched against the DIG, who is a honest and dedicated officer.
When contacted, Punjab Inspector General for Prisons Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig told Business Recorder that the video was first uploaded on social media in early 2020 and now it is once again making rounds on the public streaming websites.
Rejecting the allegations, the IG said that DIG Malik Mubashir is among one of the senior most officers of the prisons department, adding that it was an attempt by some elements to defame the department and its officers. When the video went viral last year, the IG said he along with Additional Chief Secretary Home Momin Agha had carried out an inquiry and found the DIG “innocent”.
The IG said the district jail Lahore was not housing any lady prisoner. Secondly, there was a 16km distance between the office of the DIG in question and the district jail. He said that around 195 CCTV cameras installed by the national radio and television corporation and prisons department are working at the said jail.
He added that these cameras functioned for 24/7 surveillance, recording movement of all the prisoners and the staff and in the presence of these gadgets in the highly sensitive zone, it was out of question to take any prisoner out of the jail. He also casted doubts on the background voice, stating that “voice changer device” might have been used in the video clip to target the DIG and other officials for some ulterior motives.
To a query, the IG said the way the woman had made the video was a “proof” that she was well aware how to avoid recognition. He said they tried so hard to identify the woman but in vain as her eyes were too covered and the light in the background was very dim.
When asked why the FIA took so long to formally register the FIR against the yet to be identified woman, the IG prisons said that apparently it seems that the woman was running a “well-knitted” campaign against the DIG on behalf of “someone”, who is so influential that the inspectorate general of the Punjab prisons remained unable to formally register the FIR.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021