Pakistan's Punjab government announced on Sunday plans to establish a judicial commission to investigate the alleged sex abuse of 280 children in a village bordering India.
Following the surfacing of the scandal early last month, police had registered criminal cases against the 15 suspects of 'the gang' under sodomy and extortion charges in Ganda Singh village in Kasur district, some 50 kilometres from here. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said a judicial commission comprising judges of superior court will be set up to investigate the matter.
"The chief minister has written to the Lahore High Court chief justice to constitute a commission to probe the matter," a Punjab government official said. The development comes amid calls from civil society and opposition parties to thoroughly probe the matter and give exemplary punishment to the culprits.
"This case is being investigated from all aspects," Kasur Police chief Rai Babbar told reporters.
"Only seven complainants have approached us so far," he said, adding six accused have been arrested while the remaining five nominated in the FIR are out on bail.
Babbar said police had not found any proof that the number of victims ran into hundreds.
"Announcements were made from mosques asking the victims to come to the police station and lodge complaints without any fear," he said.
Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan expressed shock at the scandal and said some of the parents, who accused the Punjab police of being hands-in-glove with perpetrators of the crime, had been arrested.
He said: "If we cannot protect our children and if police give protection to perpetrators of the crime we will become an inhumane society."
Last month, the police registered cases against the suspects after a large number of villagers of the victim boys and girls surrounded the houses of the suspects and threatened to torch them.
Recently, a clash between police and victim families in Kasur had resulted in injuries to several people and policemen. According to the FIRs, the influential suspects used to record videos while sodomising young boys and raping girls.
They would also extort millions of rupees as well as gold jewellery from villagers. "The entire chaks of Ganda Singh were aware of the offence but the villagers kept silence for years because of the fear and blackmail of the accused," a police officer said.