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Sexual assault case: Mufti Aziz maintains innocence, files another bail petition

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam's (JUI) former leader Mufti Azizur Rehman has approached a district and sessions court for the grant of a post-arrest bail, days after a similar petition of his was dismissed by a judicial magistrate.

He is accused of subjecting a student of his madressah to sexual abuse, of which the victim has reportedly presented video evidence. He is currently confined in District Jail, Lahore.

Mufti Aziz's counsel Safdar Shaheen Pirzada, in his petition, has described his client as "an innocent, law abiding citizen" who has been "falsely and maliciously" implicated in the case.

He claimed to himself be the victim of a conspiracy and "madressah politics", as he accused the complainant of being "hands in glove" with his opponents, alleging that the case was hatched "in connivance with police".

The petition described the victim as a "trapper", and questioned why he was still residing at the hostel when he had been expelled from the madressah in 2018.

The petitioner pointed out the aforesaid point in an attempt to "show the hollowness of prosecution case", also calling the plaintiff a "puppet in the hands" of his opponents who, he said, wanted to oust him from the office of Jamia Manzoor ul Islamia.

Mufti Aziz's counsel disputed the occurrence of the allegation by saying that the place where the sexual act is supposed to have taken place is where he "is living with his family including adult sons, and therefore, it is highly unbelievable and unnatural that he would resort to alleged acts at the place where his whole family is residing."

Regarding the video evidence against his client, the counsel argued that such videos "can be created within a couple of minutes".

The petition cited the example of Titanic and other Hollywood movies in which "things are maneuvered and fabricated fictitiously, illegally which has no gensus (sic) with reality".

"Therefore, it would not be impossible to create this sort of video," the petition claimed.

Mufti Aziz's counsel said that nothing was recovered from his client during investigation and "therefore, further incarceration in any manner would not be beneficial for prosecution case."

He further said that his client was also willing to submit a surety to secure bail as he prayed the court for relief and the award of bail until a final verdict is reached in the case.

Subsequently, the court, following the hearing today, ordered the police to submit the case's record on September 20.

North Cantonment police had on June 17 registered an FIR on charges of sexual assault and criminal intimidation against Mufti Aziz on the complaint of Sabir Shah, a student of Jamia Manzoorul Islam, Cantonment.

The cleric had gone into hiding after registration of the case as police arrested him from Mianwali.

The student had shared a video clip of the sexual assault as a proof some days ago with police and the seminary administration.

In his complaint, the student alleged that Mufti Aziz got him and another student expelled on the charge of cheating in examinations of Wafaqul Madaris for three years.

In June, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) investigations Shariq Jamal Khan had told that the cleric had confessed he had made the student a target of his lust with the lure of passing him [in his exams]. The cleric had added that he was scared 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, the DIG said.

However, when police had later produced him before a judicial magistrate in Lahore to record his statement, he redacted the earlier statement that was attributed to him by the police.

He had told the Judicial Magistrate Rana Rashid Ali that the seminary had conspired against him and the police were pressurising him for a confession.

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