LAHORE - An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday ordered 28-day physical remand of five accused persons, involved in Kasur child abuse case, to police.

The accused persons remanded to police were Muhammad Yahya, Waseem Abid, Aleem Asif, Saleem Akhtar Sherazi and Attiqur Rehman. Earlier, they were produced in the court amid tight security.

The police sought physical remand of the accused on the plea that since they were involved in the crimes of the most heinous nature of abducting children, sexually abusing them and making their videos, they were to be investigated, seeking their physical remand for 28 days. The court accepted the plea and remanded all the accused to the police for 28 days.

Earlier, counsel for complainants, Latif Sara advocate, also argued before the court that the accused abducted children, abused them and made their videos to black their parents. The counsel said the accused also used to intoxicate the children before sexually abusing them. They had collected Rs 350 million from the victim families, she said.

The accused persons’ counsel opposed the arguments of the complainants’ counsel. He contended the police had implicated his clients in the case to save them from the public anger. The accused taken into custody had nothing to do with the allegations levelled against them, he argued. He prayed to the court to set them free.

The accused were arrested on Monday when the sessions court of Kasur rejected their plea for confirmation of pre-arrest bails earlier granted to them. After inclusion of Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act in the FIRs, the case was shifted to the anti-terrorism court, Lahore.

On this occasion, media persons were not allowed to enter the premises of the anti-terrorism court for coverage while cameramen and reporters had to stay outside at the main gate. The gates were only opened when the police van entered the court carrying the accused and when it took them back.

Earlier, the Lahore High Court summoned the advocate general, prosecutor general, home secretary and others on a number of similar petitions, seeking trial of the Kasur child abuse scandal accused by military and anti-terrorism courts.

The lawyers, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, contended that the incident had shaken the whole country, bringing a bad name to it across the globe.

The innocent children were being abused for many years, but the police, instead of taking action, played the role of a silent spectator. The abduction of the children, their sexual abuse and blackmailing of their parents was shocking, the lawyers contended.

The counsels argued that since the incident was of the most heinous nature, the case should be transferred to the military and anti-terrorism courts instead of a court of ordinary jurisdiction. They prayed to the chief justice to order the government to insert Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act and shift the trial to the ATC courts.

CM ASKS JIT TO CONDUCT FAIR INQUIRY: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has directed members of the Joint Investigation Team to stay in Kasur and conduct impartial and fair inquiry into child abuse scandal at the earliest.

Presiding over a meeting on Tuesday, the chief minister directed the JIT, which comprises members from the police and those of the sensitive agencies, to immediately start the probe. Shahbaz directed inspector general of Punjab police to visit the affected village the same day.

He said stern action would be taken against the persons responsible for Kasur incident and they will be taken to task. He said provision of justice to the affected families would be ensured at every cost. Shahbaz said the accused deserved deterrent punishment. He said the heinous act could not be tolerated and the persons responsible for this shameful act would not escape punishment. Shahbaz said no effort will be spared in redressing the grievances of the affected families. Provincial ministers Rana Sanaullah, Col (r) Shuja Khanzada, Inspector General of Punjab Police, RPO Sheikhupura and senior officials attended the meeting.