Pakistan police suspended after parading naked couple

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Media caption,

Mumtaz Mirbahar: "They were abusing me as they made us walk... the woman was pleading with them but they kept swearing at her"

Several Pakistani police officers have been suspended after they were accused of parading a couple naked in public.

According to witnesses, police in the Sindh town of Gambat forced the man and woman to walk to the police station naked as punishment for trying to have sex outside marriage.

Mobile phone footage shows a naked man being beaten by police and a woman begging them to let her cover herself.

After a public outcry, officials suspended the officers involved.

The BBC's Shahzeb Jillani says incidents of public dishonouring are not uncommon in Pakistan, but this incident is particularly shocking because it was carried out by police and filmed on mobile phones.

Last year, several men were arrested for stripping a middle aged woman naked and parading her round the village as punishment for her son allegedly having an affair with a woman in their family.

Shahnaz Bibi told the BBC at the time that her life had been ruined by the ordeal, and she could never go home.

'Deeply scarred'

The footage of this latest incident shows the man, Mumtaz Mirbahar, being pushed around and abused by police officers on his property.

He is then forced to walk naked to the police station, alongside his alleged partner, as a large crowd looks on.

Mr Mirbahar said he has been "deeply scarred" by the incident. He has been released on bail, but the woman involved is still in detention.

Local police said they took action in response to several public complaints against Mr Mirbahar, who has been reportedly holding drink and dance parties during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Neighbours confirmed to the BBC that there had been an issue, but said the police did not have the right to humiliate anyone in that manner.

Pakistani activists say unless stern action is taken against the officers involved, police abuses of their power are unlikely to end here.