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Sunday, December 3, 2023

PTI female workers deny reports of ‘sexual assault’ in jail

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) female party workers and supporters — who were arrested in connection with the May 9 mayhem — rejected reports of alleged mistreatment and sexual assault of them on Friday. 

Party chairman Imran Khan’s arrest last month sparked days of street protests after which security forces launched a crackdown against the party following the attacks on civil and military institutions. 

Thousands of PTI workers and supporters who have been arrested in connection with the May 9 violence also include women. 

Following their arrest, Khan had claimed that women supporters were being “molested and harassed” during custody and urged Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to intervene and take notice of the matter.

During their appearance in court today, the women workers confirmed that they were not being mistreated in jail. However, they said that keeping them in jail was “unfair” as they had not done anything wrong and should not have been jailed. 

“The biggest humiliation was that women were picked up at night from their homes. Women should not be subjected to such cases,” one of the women said. 

‘Pack of lies’

On May 30, a two-member government committee turned down PTI’s allegations related to the mistreatment and sexual assault of women in Punjab prisons.

In conversation with journalists outside Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, SSP Investigations Lahore Anoosh Masood and Deputy Commissioner Lahore Rafia Haider said they “strongly” rejected the Imran Khan-led party’s claims.

The committee members termed the allegations “nothing but a pack of lies” as none of the 10 women they met separately informed them about being mistreated.

“I must mention here that a specialist and a gynaecologist are present here. There’s a library present here and all women are being allowed to read any book they want,” Masood told journalists.

“There’s clean drinking water here. Bed sheets are clean here. Even if they need clothes, they are available for them,” she said.

“All inmates in the case, including Khadija Shah, were fine,” Masood added.

Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi had formed the two-member committee to investigate the allegations levelled by PTI of mistreatment of its female supporters in prisons who were arrested after the May 9 vandalism.

He had initially claimed that women have been dealt with in line with the law he has now formed a committee to probe the issue.

Earlier, CM Naqvi had said the PTI was resorting to propaganda regarding women being mistreated in prisons.

He had revealed that 32 women were arrested and only 11 of them are still in jail now. The chief minister added that it is his government’s duty to ensure that “mothers and sisters remain safe

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