September 7th, 2020
By Haider Kaleem
The Punjab Bar Council’s inquiry committee has accused Irshad Nasreen of staging her own abduction.
The report issued by the six-member committee states, “In our unanimous opinion, the occurrence narrated in the FIR no 879/20 under Section 365-B above registered with police station city Depalpur is bogus, fictitious and fake under ulterior motives.”
According to the committee members, the FIR was registered over a grudge and an old enmity between the parties to blackmail and harass the opponents.
Irshad Nasreen claims that her legal counsel who was also a member of the inquiry committee was forced to sign the report and she was not even heard in the committee even when it was her right.
She told Voicepk.net that she will try to meet the Chairman of the executive committee of PBC with a request to review the inquiry procedure. According to her, the report was made under pressure from lawyers from Depalpur as elections are close.
Police have arrested a man named Mehmood Ahmed alias Babi who had played a role in allegedly staging the abduction of Irshad Nasreen. Nasreen says she had already named and identified Mehmood Ahmed and 4 others including Ramzan, Fida Hussain, Nazeer Ahmed, and Ghulam Haider but the police are not investigating them properly.
She further revealed that she was abducted before the court hearings of the cases in which she was about to expose the whole network of the ‘mafia’ involved in land grabbing and other illegal activities.
According to Irshad Nasreen, Mehmood was accused in the murder case of another lawyer but was granted bail because he works for the local MPA and MNA who are also related to the President of the Depalpur Bar Association, Fakhar Hayat Wattoo.
“If they claim that I have fabricated and staged my own abduction then why don’t the police investigate the people that I have identified and named in my latest application?”, questions Nasreen with a claim that whoever is found guilty must be punished according to the law.
She added that two of the men she identified as her kidnappers used to visit her alleged husband and accused Mian Akmal Wattoo in his chamber.
DPO Omar Saeed Malik claims to have investigated the case on scientific grounds. He told the media that no evidence of the abduction of Irshad Nasreen had been found in the CCTV footage of the incident.
CCTV footage shows that Irshad Nasreen came out of the court on a motorbike with Mehmood Ahmed. Investigators also said that advocate Irshad Nasreen went with a taxi driver named Khadim to Mailsi and later claimed that she had been abducted.
While raising serious concerns over not including female lawyers in the inquiry committee formed by the PBC.
Director of the Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell, Nida Aly said “the committee report shows that the local stakeholders have a biased against her and the committee report might overshadow or influence the police investigations”.
“It is a separate issue whether she is telling the truth or not about her abduction but like everyone else, she deserves the right to a fair procedure and impartial investigation as a complainant”, added Nida Aly.
A video went viral on August 23, where Nasreen appeared to be crying out for help. She was found at Mailsi, on the outskirts of Depalpur. Her appearance seemed as if she was ‘shell-shocked’, too stunned to even speak properly, but she managed to identify herself as a lawyer from Depalpur, then dramatically asked for a dupatta to cover her head.
On August 22, Nasreen’s son Mohammad Moeez acting as complainant went to the Depalpur city police station and filed an FIR about her alleged kidnapping. He claims that she was abducted at gunpoint on August 15 while going to use a washroom, after leaving her personal belongings in Chamber No. 49 which incidentally belonged to Advocate Mian Aslam Shad, who is her current lawyer.
Following the social media outrage, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdarand Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Shoaib Dastagir had taken notice of the alleged kidnapping of Inshad Nasreen.
A team comprising SP Durrani, the DSP Depalpur, and DSP legal was formed for arresting the accused of the abduction. During the police investigation, it was revealed that the woman lawyer is not only a plaintiff in several cases but also the accused in others.
Pakistan Bar Council and Punjab Bar Council also took serious notice of the incident while Lahore High Court Bar Association and Depalpur Bar Association observed a strike over the alleged abduction of the female lawyer.