Says solving the crime is his responsibilityLahore CCPO Umar Sheikh tried to explain Thursday evening his comments over a rape survivor and said his remarks were a “message” for people.“It was a message to the general public that we should take precautions,” Sheikh said while talking to reporters with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Advisor Shahzad Akbar. “The crime was committed and we admit it. We didn't refuse it happened.”Two unidentified men raped a woman in front of her children on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway early Wednesday. The men fled after the rape and stole her cash and jewellery worth Rs100,000.Umar Sheikh, the Lahore CCPO, appeared on Dunya News after the rape was reported and preferred to talk about the survivor’s decision to take the motorway with her children before explaining what his force was doing to apprehend the criminals.Related: Lahore CCPO’s victim-blaming remarks are unacceptable: minister“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, chose to go without a driver. You left Defence, you [should] take the straight GT Road where there is population and go home.”The senior police officer’s comments were criticized by Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari.“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.”
Developments in the case
The police have arrested at least 12 suspects in connection with the rape case.Sheikh, the Lahore CCPO, told reporters that the police have conducted geofencing in the area and collected blood samples from the crime scene for DNA profiling.The Lahore police chief added that there are only three villages around the crime scene and the police have obtained CCTV footage from cameras in the vicinity.Related: Lahore motorway rape: 12 people taken into custodyHe admitted he was under pressure because “one of our children were raped” in his city.“The crime took place here and it is our responsibility to resolve it,” said Sheikh.Farrukh Habib, the spokesperson for the Punjab government, told SAMAA TV’s Kiran Naz that the police have arrested at least 15 suspects in connection with the crime and they have also completed geofencing.“Such incidents present a bad picture of our society,” Habib said. He added that the authorities were making “every possible effort” to arrest the culprits and they will be soon be presented on TV.