A mother was allegedly gang-raped at gunpoint in front of her two children which has triggered a public outcry in Pakistan.
The incident happened after the victim and her children ran out of fuel while driving on Lahore-Sialkot Highway around 1:30am.
The family was en route from Lahore to Gujranwala along M-11, which is reportedly unsafe for travelling. The highway got it’s status due to not having any patrolling cars, gas stations and service areas. Moreover, it has no speed limit which make drivers go as fast as they want.
Channel News Asia (CNA) reported that the victim had called a relative and the highway police helpline while stranded. As she was waiting, two men approached, broke the car’s windows, and dragged the mother and her children (under eight years old) to an empty field before gang-raping her.
The two men then managed to steal her belongings which included cash, jewellery and ATM cards before fleeing the scene. This incident had caused Pakistanis to blame the government.
The situation got worse when lead investigator, Lahore’s City Chief Police Officer, Umar Sheikh, released a controversial statement blaming the victim for the incident. He said in a TV news programme that the victim should have taken the Grand Trunk Highway (a safer road) and should have made sure she had enough fuel.
Since the gang-rape news came, Pakistani people have already outpoured their attention and sympathy for the victim and her traumatised kids who had to sit through the terrifying nightmare. When Chief Sheikh came out with the controversial remarks, it caused the public to condemn the lead investigator.
"The victim of motorway gang rape is a French citizen. She went out at night with the children thinking it was like France." – CCPO Lahore
Shame on him still blaming the victim but not talking about rapists.#motorwayincident #RemoveCCPOLahore pic.twitter.com/lQfvjLeJGE
— Bilal. (@achayaarsun) September 10, 2020
How many times CCPO Lahore will victim blame the survivor of gang rape? We demand his removal immediately! If this is the mindset sitting at the higher position, how we can expect anything better from police dept under his leadership? @ShireenMazari1 #motorwayincident pic.twitter.com/48F6jocrA7
— Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) September 11, 2020
وزیر اعظم عمران خان کا معصوم بچی اور خاتون سے زیادتی کے مختلف واقعات کا سخت نوٹس
خواتین کا تحفظ حکومت کی اولین ترجیح اور ذمہ داری ہے۔ کسی مہذب معاشرے میں ایسی درندگی اور حیوانیت کی اجازت نہیں دی جا سکتی۔ ایسے واقعات ہماری سماجی اقدار کے منافی اور سوسائٹی پر بدنما داغ ہیں۔
— Prime Minister's Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) September 10, 2020
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had also commented on this issue on Twitter stating, “such brutality and bestiality cannot be allowed in any civilised society. Such incidents are a violation of our social values and a disgrace to society.”
He then continued on to say he has been following the case and demands investigators for the “arrest and sentencing of those involved in the incident as soon as possible”. As of now, 12 men who are suspects have been arrested by the local police.