CCPO Blames Victim in Motorway Incident

On Monday, Umar Sheikh, the Lahore Capital City Police Officer gave a briefing of the Lahore-Sialkot motorway gang-rape incident to the human rights panel of the Senate. However, the Senate was not happy by the CCPO’s stance because he continues to blame the victim for the tragedy that occurred. 

Moreover, the members of the Senate also took exception with some police findings that they found to be contradictory. They observed that it was causing suspicions and doubts, with respect to the investigation. 

Earlier in the month, a mother of two was gang-raped on the motorway of Lahore-Sialkot. The witnesses to this crime were her two children. She had stopped on the motorway to call the helpline when her car ran out of fuel. 

An investigation was soon launched following protests and uproar in the country. Thus, Sheikh was summoned on Monday by the committee to brief them about the progress of the case. The incident had also exposed the world to the lack of security present on this key route. 

As the hearing progressed, the CCPO was criticized by the members of the panel. They were irked at his beliefs regarding the incident. In Sheikh’s opinion, the woman was raped because she had been traveling late at night and that too, without permission from her husband. When members questioned whether the victim had said that in her statement, his response was that he had only assumed that that had been the case. 

The committee berated Sheikh for presenting his personal opinions and assumptions in the briefing instead of hard facts. This forced the CCPO to backtrack and he informed that the victim had left the house at that time of the night in order to speak to her husband on video call. 

The members of the human rights panel reprimanded him and stated that the security and safety of the citizens is the responsibility of the State. Their reason for traveling at any time of the day does not justify the occurrence of any crime or wrongdoing. 

The CCPO reported to the committee that the police had been successful in identifying the men responsible for the rape within 72 hours. This had been made possible through DNA testing, geofencing, and foot and fingerprints tracking technology. 

As per Sheikh, one of the main suspects Shafqat Ali alias Bagga, had been arrested while the other suspect, Babar Malik remained at large. One of the members of the committee, Ainee Marri corrected the CCPO stating that the name of the main suspect who continues to evade arrest, is Abid Ali.

The CCPO was once again reprimanded for not even knowing the name of the suspect they were hunting. He also stated that had the victim called 15 instead of the motorway police, they would have arrived on time. It took 28 minutes for the police team to reach the crime scene as per Sheikh. However, the committee stated that the police had told them in the previous briefing that they had arrived within six minutes of the call for help.