Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Khawaja Salman Rafique and Hafiz Noman on Thursday surrendered before police in a case regarding torture of a serving major of Pakistan Army in Lahore.
Before surrendering to the police, Salman Rafique and Noman apologized to the army officer for the violent incident that took place on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference outside Garden Town Police Station, Khawaja Salman Rafique said that a fake story was being spread on social media regarding the incident and it was important for him to clarify and surrender himself before the law.
He said, “Political activities are on the rise these days. I was driving my car by myself and Hafiz Noman was sitting next to me. When I reached home yesterday, I noticed that the vehicle of one of my security guards was not there.”
Rafique continued that he had received a telephone call from his personal assistant (PA) that he had exchanged harsh words with the driver of another vehicle. “After multiple calls, I was told that they made contact with 15. I’d asked him not to do anything and call the police,” he explained.
PML-N leader maintained that Haris was a respectable person for them and they strongly condemned the incident that happened on Wednesday.
“We would have preferred contact with police who demanded us to hand over our vehicles and security guards,” he said, adding that they had followed the police instructions like responsible citizens.
He also blamed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for running a social media trend to spread a fake story similar to the trends they had run against the judiciary.
Hafiz Noman, who accompanied Rafique, said that they were not defending the unfortunate incident as the staff should have called the police at the scene.
While expressing his solidarity with the Pakistan Army officer, he said that they had surrendered themselves before the law.
Earlier in the day, PML-N leader Khawaja Salman Rafique, in a tweet, had denied that his guards beat a serving army officer.
The statement came after an army officer was beaten by some men riding an SUV. The incident took place on Ferozepur Road, Lahore, on April 13, when the men stopped one Major Haris’s car.
Khawaja Salman Rafique, ex-provincial minister of Punjab, and member of PML-N, and Hafiz Noman were reportedly in the next car. In a viral video shared on the internet, one of the guards could be seen holding a metal rod in his hand.
Police had registered a First Information Report (FIR). After some hours, police arrested three accused and initiated an inquiry against the men who attacked Major Haris.
Major Haris’s father, Chaudhry Rashid Mahmood, said his son was on his way to Iqbal Town for iftar when a Land Cruiser overtook his car near Cavalry Ground and started insulting him. When Major Harris introduced himself, the accused got angry and beat him. When his son tried to flee from the scene to save his life, he said the accused got hold of him in front of Masood Hospital and smashed his car windows. He further said that Major Harris was attacked with iron rods.
He added that the attackers also snatched his son’s phone. However, Khawaja Salman Rafique has denied the reports of torture as baseless. In his tweet , he said he didn’t travel with guards, and the PTI media cells were spreading lies to defame him.
Meanwhile, Acting CCPO Lahore and DIG Investigation Shahzada Sultan addressed a press conference at Capital City Police Headquarters today. SSP Admin Atif Nazir was also present on the occasion.
Speaking to media , he said that a tragic incident took place near Kalma Chowk last evening (Tuesday) in which the private guards of a political party leader stopped and tortured an officer of the intelligence agency over a dispute. Model Town police took immediate action and registered a case after arresting the four accused involved in the incident, the media was informed.
Sultan said that an investigation was being carried to bring the accused to justice. He further said that in the FIR, the plaintiff did not nominate any leader of the political party.
In reply to a question, Acting CCPO Lahore said that the main reasons for the rise in crime were economic inequality, social ills, unemployment and poverty, which necessitated the accountability of criminals, the abolition of outdated laws, new legislation and the strengthening of the criminal justice system.
He said that in order to control crime, every institution and every member of the society had to play its due role. He added that the increase in the murder ratio was a worrying aspect but during Ramazan, patrolling and personnel have been increased to provide foolproof security to mosques, institutions and markets.
Meanwhile, #MajorHaris trended in Pakistan on twitter as people expressed their anger on this cruel act.
On the other hand, in reply to another question, Shahzada Sultan said that full security would be provided to the meeting of the Punjab Assembly to be held on April 16 in accordance with law and order.