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Lahore motorway rape: 12 people taken into custody

CCPO Umar Sheikh is leading the investigation

SAMAA | and - Posted: Sep 10, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Posted: Sep 10, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

Twelve men have been taken into custody over their suspected involvement in the rape of a woman on the Sialkot-Lahore motorway. The police have collected evidence from the site.

A woman was raped in front of her children by two unidentified men on the motorway early Wednesday. The men fled after the rape and stole her cash and jewellery worth Rs100,000.

She was driving to Gujranwala with her children when she ran out of fuel near Lahore’s Gujjarpura. The woman was sitting in her vehicle when two men walked towards her car, broke her window, and made her park on the roadside. They then took her and the children to a nearby forest and raped her. 

The police said the woman’s initial medical examination confirmed that she had been raped. A case has been registered.

At least 20 teams have been formed to investigate the case. This includes teams of the Special Branch, CIA and Investigation Police.

According to the police, there is only one village near the area. Residents are being questioned about the incident.

Shahbaz Gill, the special assistant to the PM on political communication, said the Lahore CCPO is leading the investigation and they are using the techniques of urban and rural policing. He also shared pictures of the woman’s car on Twitter.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said that her ministry has asked the regional office for an “action report” from the police. The FIR copy and progress report is with us at MOHR, she remarked.

Those involved in the crime will be taken to task very soon, said Mussarat Cheema, the spokesperson of the Punjab government, while speaking on SAMAA TV.

“She remarked that the government must work towards providing protection to women so that they can commute without any fear,” she remarked.

It has been revealed that the woman had called the Motorway police and asked them for help but they turned her away, saying that they don’t have jurisdiction in the area.

“We haven’t been given orders to ensure the security of the area near Gujjarpura,” a Motorway official told SAMAA TV.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and the inspector general have taken notice of the incident. They have ordered officials to submit a report.

Earlier in the year, another rape was reported in Gujjarpura. A woman working at a doctor’s clinic was going home when two men on a motorcycle kidnapper and raped her. The 20-year-old registered a case and the suspects were arrested. The woman withdrew the case after the two parties reached a compromise.

CCPO’s controversial remarks

The remarks of Lahore CCPO Umar Sheikh about the woman’s decision to take the motorway with her children have been widely criticised by politicians and activists on social media.

Sheikh appeared on Dunya News after the rape was reported and commented on the survivor’s decision to take the motorway with her children at night.

“The story is that this woman, if it is in your knowledge, left Defence at 12:30am for Gujranwala,” said CCPO Sheikh while talking to the news channel. “First, I am surprised that she, a mother of three children, was the only driver.” She left Defence and should’ve taken GT Road, where there are shops and people nearby. “If you are taking the other way, then at least make sure your vehicle has fuel,” he remarked.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari criticised the Lahore CCPO for “blaming a woman” for being raped. “For an officer to effectively blame a woman for being gang-raped by saying she should have taken the GT Road or question as to why she went out in the night with her children is unacceptable,” said Mazari in a tweet. “Nothing can ever rationalise the crime of rape.”

The CCPO made a very irresponsible statement, said Cheema. Policemen need to be careful before making such remarks. We are not living in the Stone Age that women just can’t leave their houses at all, she added.

PML-N’s Azma Zahid Bokhari remarked that the police are there to provide security to the people. They should not be telling us when we can leave our houses and when we can’t. “Who is he to say this?” The CCPO’s statements show that he is incapable of handling this post, she added.

Pakistan’s rape laws

Rape is a punishable offence in Pakistan. The definition and punishment for this crime is detailed under Sections 375 and 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

According to the law, a man is said to commit rape when he has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the five following descriptions:

  • Against her will
  • Without her consent
  • With her consent, when the consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt
  • With her consent, when the man knows that he is not married to her and that the consent is given because she believes that the man is another person to whom she is or believes herself to be married; or
  • With or without her consent when she is under 16 years of age.

The convicted rapists will be sentenced to jail for no less than 10 years or more than 25 years, according to the law. A fine will also be imposed on them.

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