No One Believed Him, So This Student Secretly Filmed His Own Sexual Assault

A Pakistani cleric in his 60s was arrested after the video was posted.
Pallavi Pundir
Jakarta, ID
pakistan, cleric, rape, sexual abuse, viral video, social media, arrest, jail
Over 2.2 million children attend madrassas across Pakistan. Last year, a news investigation found a disturbing pattern of sexual harassment, rape and physical abuse in these centres. Photo: Arif Ali/ AFP

A viral video has led to the arrest of an Islamic school cleric after a student in the Pakistani city of Lahore accused him of rape.

In the video, the student accused Azizur Rehman, the custodian of his madrassa or religious school Jamia Manzoor-ul-Islamia, of forcing him to have sex. Rehman was arrested by police on Sunday. Two of his sons were also arrested for threatening the student.


Inam Ghani, the Inspector General of Police of Punjab province, confirmed the arrest of the cleric on Twitter. 

Last week, the graphic phone video showed an elderly bearded man having sex with a young man. The video was then edited with the student talking into the camera saying he’s in hiding and is being threatened by Rehman and his sons for leaking the video. 

“I didn’t get justice, neither did anyone believe me even though I spoke to many people around me,” the student said tearfully. “I’m taking my own life.”

The video is still circulating on Twitter and YouTube. VICE World News is not sharing it to protect the privacy of the accuser and the distressing nature of the video. 

Before his arrest, the cleric posted his own video statement in which he claimed he was drugged in the video.

“The biggest proof is that my body was not even moving. If I were in my senses, how could I have not known that he was making a video from his phone?” Rehman said in the video, adding that his previous encounters with the student were consensual. 

But police now say the cleric has confessed and that he was offering to help the student pass exams in exchange, Pakistani news outlet Dawn reported.

Syed Nayab Haider, the director of public relations for the Punjab Police, told VICE World News that the video footage is being examined.


“The evidence is all out there but we will follow proper investigation for an official report,” Haider said. 

He added that the student is currently in a safe place and is undergoing counselling. “The investigation doesn’t allow us to reveal where he is right now but his life is no longer in danger,” said Haider. 

Rehman had been working as the custodian at an Islamic school in a posh Pakistani suburb for several years. He is also believed to have spearheaded protests against two actors last year for shooting a music video in a mosque and accused them of blasphemy.

In the wake of the recent viral video, the Wafaq-ul-Madaris - a body that oversees all Islamic schools in Pakistan - stripped him of his cleric title, Mufti.

His school did not return requests for additional comment.

There are more than 2.2 million children attending madrassas across Pakistan. A 2020 investigation by Associated Press found a disturbing pattern of sexual harassment, rape and physical abuse at these schools.

Amna Baig, Assistant Superintendent of Police in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, told VICE World News that child abuse is not just prevalent but severely under-reported. “This case is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “Children are abused not just in the madrassas but everywhere from public transportation to the streets. Most children don’t realise that the abuse is wrong. There is no awareness about the reporting mechanisms either.”


A 2020 report by the non-profit Sahil found that at least eight children were sexually abused every day across Pakistan.

Baig said that it’s much harder for boys and men to report abuse in Pakistan. “The social repercussions of coming out and reporting abuse are manifold,” she said. “It’s rare for men to say they were raped. They face backlash and questions of masculinity and honour are raised.” 

In an unrelated interview with the American news site Axios, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his position that the onus of sexual assault and rape is on victims and their clothing. “[Wearing fewer clothes] will have an impact on men unless they’re robots,” he told his interviewer.

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