LAHORE - The PML-N leaders are being taken to task by their opponents particularly by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan on account of bad police performance. The criticism is well-founded since the rulers have badly failed to reform the corruption-riddled law enforcing agency.

Since 1985 to-date, Sharif brothers are in power for the 6th term in the Punjab province where police work has been plummeting with every passing day.

After the last year’s Model Town tragedy, the country’s biggest child sex abuse scandal in district Kasur has further exposed the system in place. The mess-up in the police has raised many eyebrows.

In their campaign manifesto, the PML-N leadership had pledged the much-needed police reforms but that’s still a slogan. From fake police encounters to killings in custody and rampant corruption to misuse of powers remains the hallmark of the country’s largest law-enforcing agency – the Punjab Police.

CM Shahbaz Sharif, a couple of years ago, had promised establishment of 100 Model Police Stations in 36 districts of the province. Unfortunately, the government has failed to make even a single model police station fully operational yet.

What to say about the change in Thana culture in the Punjab province, where the police have killed as many as 198 alleged criminals in staged encounters during the first six months of this year. Despite the CM took some initiatives including sufficient raise in salary packages, training of policemen from Pakistan Army, arranging refresher courses for police officers in Turkey, the police working is like an open secret with no visible changes on the ground.

As a mater of fact, the CM himself interviews police officers before ordering their appointment on key posts. While many police officers consider such action as a direct interference into the police affairs some political leaders say the chief minister has the authority to pick up right man for the right job.

More interestingly, whether it was Model Town massacre or killings of lawyers by police officers in Daska, Sialkot, or suicide of a rape victim in district Nankana Sahib, or the worst child abuse scandal of Kasur, Punjab Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera has been leading the corruption-riddled police to a blind alley. The provincial government has badly failed to improve policing culture in this crime-prone society.

Now, the PML-N leadership has stepped up efforts to politically solve the country’s biggest child sex abuse scandal by ‘taking into confidence’ the victims and their families. The local politicians also played a key role in convincing the angry villagers to visit Lahore and meet the top provincial hierarchy.

Since the reports of the sexual abuse of about 280 children, most of them under 14, have shocked the entire country and the world as well, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif met the victim families for the very first time on Sunday. He assured the villagers that he “would leave his position if he failed to bring the culprits to justice.”

The CM expressed indignation over the performance of police in Kasur incident and admitted that the police needed to perform their duties with responsibility.

A father of one of the victims, after meeting the CM on Sunday, told this reporter that they would appear before Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on Monday (today).

“We have decided to end the boycott and we are going to join the JIT probe on tomorrow since the Chief Minister has assured us that the culprits would be provided deterrent punishment.” A 19-member delegation of affectees of Kasur incident met Provincial Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Rana Sanaullah Khan on 8-Club Road on Friday in the presence of Punjab IGP, Commissioner Lahore, and Sheikhupura Regional Police Officer. On this occasion Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, who earlier had tried to link the largest child abuse scandal with a land dispute between two parties, admitted that Kasur incident is “highly tragic and heartrending.”

Unlike the victims of Model Town massacre, the affectees of Kasur incidents have agreed to appear before the JIT constituted by the provincial government and headed by a police officer of the rank of DIG. Ironically, DIG Abubakar who is heading this JIT had been serving as the regional police officer in the same district when the inhuman activities were going on there. Punjab police claim that two intelligence officers are part of the JIT but according to insiders no one from the country’s leading intelligence agencies has been included in the probe team.

The JIT constituted for Model Town tragedy had to complete the one-sided probe as the victim families boycotted its proceedings. At least 14 persons were shot dead and 85 others wounded during clashes between police and PAT protesters on June 17, 2014.

So far, the Ganda Singh Wala police have registered at least 18 FIRs on child abuse complaints and are seeking more complainants. The police arrested 13 of the 17 suspects, who were nominated in the FIRs while the remaining four suspects have fled the locality. Reportedly, the Joint Investigation Team has collected between 30 and 40 video clips of child pornography. About the 17 suspects mentioned in the FIRs, officials say that seven could be seen committing the crime in the clips. In one of the FIRs, a complainant had claimed that the suspects had made at least 400 clips of child pornography.

Earlier, the Kasur district police chief, Rai Babar Saeed, SP (Investigations), and two deputies (DSPs) were suspended from service. The Punjab government had also removed Additional IGP Arif Mushtaq for submitting a ‘misleading report’ on the scandal.

On Saturday, another five policemen were suspended from service in the child sex abuse scandal for allegedly granting favours to the suspects.

The 50-year-old tutor arrested Wednesday for raping and filming young Lahore schoolgirls last week admitted to The Nation that he had abused them for “sex education”. In an exclusive interview at Green Town police station, Hussein Ahmed Khan confessed he had sexually assaulted as many as 20 young girls over a six-year period – all the victims are under 13.

The arrest of Hussein Ahmed Khan and the discovery of his large collection of child abuse videos emerged barely two weeks after more than 280 children were found to have been drugged, raped, and beaten by a child porn gang in Kasur, 60 kilometres from Lahore in north Punjab.