Lahore   -   An FIR was lodged against the station house officer (SHO) Shahzad Town and other policemen after Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered action against police officials for negligence in a case of alleged rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl.

Police did not cooperate and misbehaved with the family of Farishta, who went missing on May 20 and whose body was discovered by locals from the bushes on the edge of the federal capital five days later. The victim family, which belongs to Mohmand Agency, said they had tried to file a missing person report with the police on May 15, but it took the police until May 19 to register the FIR and, even then, a proper search was not initiated. A statement issued from PM’s Office on Wednesday said  the prime minister ordered registration of cases against concerned station house officer (SHO) and other relevant officials, and initiate departmental proceedings against them at the earliest.

Prime Minister also directed that the SDPO be placed under suspension and SP of the zone be made OSD till finalisation of judicial inquiry of the case.

“It is a failure of system that police staff forced the children of affected family to clean their offices. Departmental proceedings be initiated against the perpetrators and finalised expeditiously,” the statement said.

“Police claims that SOPs have been created for crimes against children after Kasur incident. The said SOPs were found to be inoperative / deficient in this case,” it observed, ordering the inspector general (IG) and deputy inspector general (DIG) to furnish an explanation.

“IG and DIG to explain as to why no system was in place to highlight child-related crimes and also explain the overall failure of system to affect speedy justice to the bereaved family,” the statement, a copy of which was sent to the interior secretary, read.

“The prime minister has further directed that daily updates on progress on the above directives and investigations be submitted for information of the prime minister,” it added.

An FIR registered by Farishta’s father, Ghulam Nabi, states the family visited the police station for the registration of a missing complaint. Instead of looking for the girl, the SHO said that she had run away with someone.

The police officials also had the police station cleaned by the children of the victim family, the FIR states. It calls for action against the SHO and other officials involved for criminal negligence.

Meanwhile, police have arrested a close relative of Farishta but did not provide further details. They say that the scope of the investigation has been widened.

 Army offers help

The military has offered help to bring the rapists-killers of the girl. The chief military spokesperson took to Twitter to condemn the “brutal murder of innocent Farishta”.

“[The] Brutal murder of innocent Farishta is highly condemnable. Those responsible must be brought to justice. Army is ready to provide any support in this regard. We must rise and join to protect our future generations from vile and despicable elements who prey on vulnerable children,” DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor said in his tweet.

The four-day-old body recovered on Monday evening (May 20) was identified as that of Farishta by her father, who recognised her by her clothes. The results of a post-mortem examination conducted on Tuesday are awaited, and samples have also been taken for a DNA test to confirm the victim’s identity.

Police said samples taken from the body and the site where Farishta was found are being tested to ascertain whether she was subjected to gang rape and torture, as alleged by the family.

The family protested against alleged police inaction in Islamabad on Tuesday, and SHO Rana was suspended from duty in order to ensure a transparent inquiry into the case.

Three people have been arrested so far, according to a statement issued by DIG Syed. In addition, a committee headed by two superintendents of police were formed to investigate the case. Police secured three-day physical remand of the suspects from a local court today.

The Islamabad police chief paid a visit to Farishta’s home to offer his condolences and assure her relatives of speedy justice.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser also met Ghulam Nabi and other member’s of Farishta’s family inside Parliament House today, along with the Islamabad commissioner, deputy commissioner and MNA Ali Awan.

The capital administration officials briefed the NA speaker on the case. Asad Qaiser assured the family of justice.