–Shocking videos show Lahore cops blackmailing young couples for money
LAHORE: The Lahore police is busy blackmailing and extorting unwitting young couples in the city with impunity, as senior officials of the department look the other way.
According to details available with Pakistan Today, a number of cops of the Lahore police have been intercepting and filming young couples travelling together on cars.
Videos reportedly obtained from the phone of one of the policemen involved in the extortion ring show how the gang operates. The gang stops cars and then verbally and physically assaults the men while making videos the entire time. They then use those videos as leverage to get money out of those they corner.
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The matter came to light when a police constable of Ghalib Market Police Station, Nadeem Iqbal (C/6412) filed an FIR [First Information Report] in which he alleged that a couple he and his colleagues – Usman Mushtaq (C/14575) and Usman Saeed (C/20154) – had tried to intercept had used their contacts to have him and the other two cops kidnapped.
However, sources privy to the details of the incident revealed to Pakistan Today that the trio had in fact tried to blackmail the couple by filming them when they were stopped near LDA Park in the Ghalib Market police precincts for ‘checking’ on the night of Oct 1. However, Iqbal and his companions faced resistance from the man, who happens to be a close friend of Mian Hassan, the son of Punjab Housing and Urban Development Minister Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed.
The man asked the policemen not to record the video and put the phone aside, however the trio reportedly attacked the couple. During the scuffle, the man was able to snatch the constable’s phone while the woman telephoned some friends, including the son of the Punjab minister, for help. The couple’s friends reached the spot and managed to secure their release from the three policemen.
Constable Iqbal later registered an FIR, seemingly in an attempt to cover his tracks, making a hue and cry about having been abducted on duty.
He alleged in the FIR that the couple was being taken to the police station when the youth called Mian Hasan, who immediately arrived there along with his three friends in two cars.
The complainant claimed that the suspects snatched their guns, bundled them into their cars and drove away. They later dropped the kidnapped policemen at different places and fled away, he alleged in the FIR.
The police claimed that they kept looking for the suspects and traced one of the cars finally on Thursday through a CCTV camera footage that was registered in the name of Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed.
Responding to allegations that his son was involved in the abduction of the policemen, Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed said that the couple caught by policemen was just going to the market to have coffee. He alleged the policemen on bikes without number plates tried to blackmail the couple and demanded Rs 50,000 as bribe from his son’s friend which prompted Mian Hasan to reach the scene to help him.
He said that he himself directed his son to visit the police station and join the investigation to show that he respected the law.
“I’ll quit my office if the allegations leveled against my son proved true,” the minister said.
However, the recovery of a large number of videos featuring different couples from the phone taken from the cop belies the police’s claim regarding the incident.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, DIG Operations Rana Shahzad Akbar said that for now the police was only looking into the FIR filed by Constable Iqbal, and that they had not yet received any complaint from the other side.
DIG Akbar said the minister’s son Mian Hassan was involved in the entire episode.
“They (suspects) kept driving the cars on various roads of the city for two hours, slapping the kidnapped policemen and also filmed the torture with their mobile phone cameras,” the DIG claimed, adding that the police traced out the suspects with the help of CCTV cameras of the Safe City Project which also showed them dropping the policemen one by one on different roads.
However, after being brought up to speak about the videos in question, the DIG said that the police would be launching two different investigations, one into the claims made by Constable Iqbal and one into the gang that has been harassing couples.
“While we are investigating the FIR as per procedure, we are also conducting an internal investigation regarding these claims that have surfaced,” he said, hinting that no immediate action would be taken against the three policemen accused of extorting money from young couples.