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Motorway rape occurred because victim travelled late night: Pak police officer tells Senate panel

Pakistan police officer Umar Sheikh, who recently stoked controversy by faulting the victim for the rape incident on Lahore-Sialkot motorway, has doubled down on his remarks in front of Senate human rights panel by saying that the incident took place as the woman was travelling late night without her husband's permission.

ANI | Lahore | Updated: 29-09-2020 07:41 IST | Created: 29-09-2020 07:41 IST
Motorway rape occurred because victim travelled late night: Pak police officer tells Senate panel
Pakistan flag. Image Credit: ANI

Pakistan police officer Umar Sheikh, who recently stoked controversy by faulting the victim for the rape incident on Lahore-Sialkot motorway, has doubled down on his remarks in front of Senate human rights panel by saying that the incident took place as the woman was travelling late night without her husband's permission. The 30-year old woman was reportedly raped by two men in front of her two children on motorway after her car ran out of petrol earlier this month. The incident resulted in national outrage and protests erupted in many parts of the country.

Days after the incident, Sheikh, Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CPPO), had questioned the women asking why she was out late at night. These remarks irked women rights organisations who hit the streets to protest against his remarks and asked for his resignation. On Monday, Sheikh was summoned by the committee to provide a briefing on the progress of the case that sparked outrage across the country and also exposed the lack of security on a key route, Dawn reported.

During the hearing, the CCPO was berated by the panel for expressing his "presumption" that the incident took place because the victim "was travelling late at night without her husband's permission". Members of the committee asked him if the victim had said this in her statement at which Sheikh said that it was his "assumption". When the committee reprimanded him for giving his "personal opinions" instead of stating facts of the case, Sheikh backtracked and said that "he had been told that the victim had left late at night because she had to talk to her husband on video call".

Protests held across Pakistan following the incident with people demanding an immediate enquiry and criticising inaction of the police. The indifferent and unhelpful remarks by Lahore's police chief added fuel to the fire, according to Dawn.

Sheikh had pontificated that the victim had failed to take due precautions before setting off for her journey. According to the Lahore police chief's logic, the woman could have avoided being at the wrong place at the wrong time. He said she should have taken the more populated GT Road to Gujranwala instead of going via motorway, and that she ought to have checked how much fuel her car had before setting off.

Later, in another conversation with journalists, he had said that the victim was travelling with her children at a late hour because she "thought it was France". (ANI)


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