Brothels crackdown called ‘a reaction to gang rape case’
RAHIM YAR KHAN: Rahim Yar Khan police have arrested 12 women and two men in two raids in a crack down on brothels this week. Saddar and B Division police said they carried out a joint operation in Taj Da Khoo and Gulshan-i-Ravi areas after receiving a number of complaints from the residents.
Malik Bashir, whom the police suspects of patronising several brothels in the city, however, held that the recent crack down, was a reaction to a gang rape complaint registered against the Saddar police station house officer and other officials. Talking to The Express Tribune via telephone, he said SHO Muslim Zia and Sub Inspector Muhammad Younis had allegedly assaulted a woman, stripped her and detained her at the police station for the night.
He said the woman took the matter to the Lahore High Court’s Rahim Yar Khan bench and an FIR was registered on court’s directive. He said the complainant in the gang rape case was among the 14 people arrested by the police in the two raids.
He denied that the women arrested were prostitutes or that they were associated with brothels. Also, he said that the police officials had never before taken any action in this regard.
“These are poor women. Their only crime is that they work and support their families,” he said. He said the SHO had called some of these women to the police station and on refusal he had arrested them in the name of the crack down on brothels.
Bashir alleged that the SHO was also detaining his younger brother, Muhammad Iqbal, for four days. He said their mother had submitted a plea before the high court for Iqbal’s recovery and that SHO Zia had been summoned by the court on Friday.
Bashir said Zia had contacted him and offered to release the 14 people arrested during the two raids as well as his brother if the FIR in the gang rape case was withdrawn.
SHO Muslim Zia rejected the suggestion that the crackdown was linked to the gang rape case. He said the crack down against brothels and people involved in the activity was launched following complaints by the neighbours. He said he was directed by the Rahim Yar Khan district police officer, Sohail Tajik, to take action against the brothels. He said cases had been registered against the 14 people arrested in the raids under Sections 371 of the Pakistan Penal Code. About the rape case, he said the charges were false.