LAHORE: A writ petition was filed at the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday, urging the formation of a judicial commission or committee comprising sitting high court judges to investigate an alleged scam involving drug peddling and sexual harassment at Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB).
The petitioner, Mushkoor Hussain, filed the petition through advocate Nadeem Sarwar, naming the province of Punjab through the Chief Secretary, Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP), Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), caretaker Punjab Chief Minister and Vice Chancellor of IUB as respondents.
According to the petition, the incident came to light a few weeks ago when the police arrested IUB’s chief security officer and allegedly found crystal methamphetamine (commonly known as ice) and aphrodisiacs in his possession, along with a significant number of objectionable videos involving university officials and students on his two mobile phones.
The arrest occurred after the police stopped a car at a checkpoint of Baghdadul Jadeed police station. According to the FIR registered on the complaint of Sub Inspector Muhammad Afzal Nawaz, the car driver attempted to flee but was intercepted by the police. Upon searching the vehicle, the police discovered 10 grams of ice and aphrodisiacs in the driver’s possession, who later identified himself as the IUB chief security officer, Ijaz Shah.
Further investigations revealed that the suspect’s mobile phones contained numerous objectionable videos and images of women. The suspect confessed to using and selling drugs and claimed that the objectionable material involved officials from various departments at IUB, as well as female students.
Shah revealed that he used to monitor the security cameras of the university, using the footage of female students hugging, smoking with friends under trees, and near university buildings. These videos were then used to blackmail the students, threatening to share them with their parents.
Moreover, Shah was accused of arranging sexual exploitation encounters with influential gang members, including the son of federal minister Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema. The appalling situation had been ongoing for a significant period. The investigation also exposed the involvement of professors and staff members of the university in the gang.
Following the incident, the caretaker CM formed a three-member committee, consisting of Secretary Minerals Babar Aman Babar, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Amin Bukhari, and DIG Raja Faisal, to investigate the matter. Simultaneously, the university also initiated an internal committee to probe into the scandal and suspended two officials who were arrested by the police.
Critics have expressed concern over the investigation, pointing out that only a case has been registered under CNSA 1997 against the chief security officer, while overlooking the registration of a case under PECA 2016 against all individuals involved in the filming and dissemination of objectionable content.
Furthermore, the involvement of a federal minister’s son in the scandal has raised suspicions of undue influence and pressure on law enforcement agencies to suppress the matter.
The recent arrests of university officials and the allegations of drug abuse and sexual exploitation have deeply shaken the sanctity of educational institutions. Urgent and thorough investigation is required to address this disgraceful situation. It is crucial that the matter is approached with utmost seriousness and impartiality. The involvement of IUB officials, teachers, and students demands judicial oversight to ensure transparency and fairness throughout the investigation.