Published: 29th June 2021
Days after confession, former Pakistani cleric denies sexually assaulting student
After recording his statement, the magistrate sent the accused on judicial remand for 14 days. The court also sought a report from the police on the challan of the case at the next hearing
In a dramatic U-turn, former Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Pakistani cleric Mufti Azizur Rehman on Monday denied sexually assaulting one of his students and told a judicial magistrate that he was being pressurised by the police to admit to the crime.
This comes after last week, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) investigations Shariq Jamal Khan had told Dawn that the cleric had confessed that the incident's video, which went viral on social media a few days ago, had featured him and was secretly filmed by the student who was being sexually abused.
Rehman further said that he was afraid and worried once the video went viral on social media and his sons had attempted to threaten the student and stop him from mentioning the incident to anyone, according to Jamal Khan.
"I released the video statement because I did not want to leave the madrassah. The madrassah administration had already told me to leave," the DIG quoted him as saying. "I am very ashamed at what I did," he added. "I made the student a target of my lust with the lure of passing him [in his exams]," the Pakistani cleric admitted to the police.
However, on Monday, Rehman redacted the earlier statement that was attributed to him by the police. He told the Judicial Magistrate Rana Rashid Ali that the seminary had conspired against him and the police were pressurising him for a confession, Dawn reported.
After recording his statement, the magistrate sent the accused on judicial remand for 14 days. The court also sought a report from the police on the challan of the case at the next hearing.
The North Cantonment police had on June 17 registered the FIR on charges of sexual assault and criminal intimidation against Mufti Rehman on the complaint of a student of Jamia Manzoorul Islam, Lahore.
The police had later produced him before the local court and sought seven-day physical remand, which was approved by the magistrate.
A harrowing video clip of him allegedly sexually assaulting one of his students was widely shared on social media earlier this month.
The student had said Rehman sexually abused him, while the cleric's sons started blackmailing and threatening to kill him.
The incident sparked outrage on social media, with many calling for the former JUI-F leader to be arrested. Pakistan's civil society members are questioning the silence of religious parties after police nabbed the cleric for sexually assaulting one of his students.
On Twitter, #muftiazizurrehman was among the top trends in Pakistan on Thursday with netizens calling for action against the JUI-F cleric and criticising religious parties for their silence on the incident.