Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said on Monday that the Gujjarpura gang-rape of a woman that enraged the whole country didn’t take place on the Sialkot-Lahore motorway.
The woman was raped in front of her children by two unidentified men on the motorway on September 9. She was driving to Gujranwala when she ran out of fuel near Lahore’s Gujjarpura area.
One of her suspected rapists, Shafqat Ali, has been identified and he has confessed to his crime, according to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. The police were carrying out raids to arrest another suspect, Abid Ali, the chief minister said in a tweet.
“Let me repeat it again, the incident didn't take place on the motorway,” Saeed said in the National Assembly. The minister, however, didn't specify the area where it took place.
The rape survivor had reportedly made a call to the motorway police after she ran out of fuel near Gujjarpura. But the motorway police declined to help her, saying that section didn’t fall under their jurisdiction.
Saeed said he heard the call himself and the motorway police didn’t hang up on the survivor.
“Speaker sahib, I myself heard the call,” the minister said. “A call was made to 130 and he doesn't say it is not their jurisdiction.”
The minister said the motorway police connected the woman to those who had jurisdiction over the area.
Saeed’s statement came hours after Lahore Capital City Police Officer Umar Sheikh told the Lahore High Court that the section of the motorway where the crime took place was not under the motorway police’s jurisdiction.
“This portion [of motorway] was neither handed nor taken over,” he told the court. “I have said in earlier meetings that we don’t have the personnel to depute.”
The Lahore CCPO said the motorway helpline official had arranged a conference call between the woman and a Frontier Works Organization major. If I say something, I’ll be blamed once again, Sheikh said. She should have called 15, it’s common sense.
The LHC chief justice asked him why the survivor was supposed to make a call herself.
“When she had called 130, they should have contacted 15," the judge said. "The major she talked to should have informed 15.”