Lahore’s new Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Sheikh, who was earlier this week blamed for the removal of Punjab’s fifth inspector general of police (IGP) in two years, has now made headlines for blaming a gang-rape victim for the incident.
“I am shocked… you are a mother of three and the only driver late at night… [she] should have taken the GT [Grand Trunk] Road instead, which is densely populated,” he said while speaking to Dunya News.
Sheikh went on to say that the woman should “at least have checked her fuel before taking the motorway”.
On Tuesday night, it was reported that two robbers had gang-raped a mother of three on the Motorway within Gujjarpura police’s jurisdiction.
The woman, along with her three children, was driving to Gujranwala in her car when she was forced to stop at the Gujjarpura section of the Motorway after running out of fuel at around 1:30 am. She immediately called a relative and sent him her location. He asked her to also dial the Motorway Police helpline 130 but she was reportedly refused help.
In the meantime, two robbers approached the car, broke the window and took the woman and her children to nearby bushes where they raped her repeatedly in front of the children. They also snatched her purse that had cash around Rs100,000, one bracelet, car registration and three ATM cards.
The Gujjarpura police have registered a case, while motorway police spokesperson said they had not been able to take action as the incident did not occur in the limits of Motorway Police.
With the incident making headlines and medical reports confirming gang-rape, social media flooded with posts by the general public as well as political leaders in support of the survivor and against the authorities over their “continuous failure to protect the people”.
Amid public outcry, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s aide on political communication, Dr Shahbaz Gill, said that on Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar’s directives, Lahore CCPO Umar Sheikh will lead the investigation.
“Urban and rural policing techniques are being used,” he said, adding that CCTV footage and DNA matching was being used in the probe.”
Dr Gill further said that around 12 suspects have been arrested.
‘POLICE DOING GREAT WORK’:
Earlier, newly-appointed IGP Inam Ghani claimed that police have secured “evidence” that will lead them to the culprits.
“We have done great work so far in the motorway rape case. We have located the village from which the suspects were from,” the IGP revealed in a conversation with Geo News.
He also shared that 20 police teams were working on the case and being overseen by a deputy inspector-general (DIG).
Ghani shared that the survivor had provided ages and other identifying features of the suspects. “Right now, we have a very good clue which will lead us to the suspects directly. However, we cannot share it with the media yet.”
He also shared that police have obtained the complete voter list and record from the National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) of the area where the suspects are believed to have hailed from.
IG Ghani said that the woman’s children, who were forced to witness the horrific crime, were now with their family, who have been assured that they will be provided all kinds of support. He hoped that the victims of the attack would be in a much better state when the suspects are arrested.