PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 August, 2015, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 August, 2015, 4:06pm

Arrested gang members involved in a sexual abuse scandal are held in a police lockup in Hussain Khanwala village. Photo: AFP

Arrested gang members involved in a sexual abuse scandal are held in a police lockup in Hussain Khanwala village. Photo: AFP

A Pakistani province has announced a judicial inquiry into a massive child abuse and extortion scandal allegedly involving hundreds of victims amid mounting calls for justice.

At least 280 children were filmed being sexually abused by a gang of 25 men who blackmailed their parents by threatening to leak the videos, Latif Ahmed Sara, a representative for the victims’ families, said.

Children aged mostly under 14 were also forced to perform sex acts on each other in the more than 400 videos made in Hussain Khanwala village, southwest of Lahore, since 2007, Sara and local media reports said.

“Around 300 videos of the kids have been leaked and every second child in this village is a victim,” Sara, a legal activist said.

Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday ordered an independent judicial probe into the case, amid mounting anger from rights activists and a flurry of media attention.

“The chief minister (of) Punjab has ordered a judicial inquiry into (the) incident, those involved in the case will be punished and the affected families will be provided with justice at any cost,” the statement from the chief minister’s office said.

Protestors have accused police of failing to do enough to break up a paedophile ring in Punjab province. Photo: AP

Saba Sadiq, chief of the province’s Child Protection Bureau, described the case as “the largest child abuse scandal in Pakistan’s history”.

In an initial report ordered by the Punjab provincial government last week and carried out by police, local authorities described the allegations as “baseless”.

It came after parents of the victims clashed with police in the town of Kasur near Lahore as they staged a protest blasting authorities for failing to prosecute the criminals.

The gang allegedly attempted to extort money from parents of victims, selling clips of the videos locally for 40 Pakistan rupees each (39 US cents) if they did not pay up.

“They made the video of my son in 2011 and we have been paying the blackmailers since then,” said the mother of one of the victims, who did not want to be named. “I have seen the videos, they are disgusting,” she said.

Children whose families say have been abused. Photo: Reuters

Another woman said she came to know about her son’s abuse last month when a video of him was leaked. “He was terrified, he had been subjected to sexual abuse for the past two years, today we went to the police station to file a report,” the distraught mother said.

A reporter who visited the village said young children had clips of the alleged abuse on their mobile phones which they offered to show journalists for free.

“This is a very old incident and those posing as victims are cashing in on the issue to settle a land dispute,” said Shahzad Sultan, the area’s police chief.

He said a group of young boys in their early 20s was making videos of “consensual” sexual acts for fun.

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