Opposition senators have lambasted the government ministers and legislators for coming to the defense of Lahore capital city police officer (CCPO) instead of condemning him for his controversial comments about a female gang-rape victim.
The Senate on Tuesday discussed Wednesday’s gruesome incident at Lahore-Sialkot motorway where a mother was sexually assaulted in front of her children after her car ran out of fuel. The incident shocked the entire nation and triggered countrywide outrage.
After the horrible incident, newly appointed Lahore CCPO Umar Sheikh invited criticism when he said the victim had failed to take due precautions before embarking on her motorway trip.
Sheikh had claimed the woman could have avoided the incident if she had taken the more populated GT Road instead of going via motorway, and if she had checked the fuel before setting off.
When the house on Tuesday suspended its usual business after the question hour to discuss the incident, PML-N’s Pervaiz Rashid took the floor to criticize the government functionaries’ ‘misogyny’
“The person who was supposed to hold the culprits accountable is asking as to why the victim travelled at that hour of night. I request that the person who blamed the victim should be dismissed.”
The former information minister said when a rape incident took place during the rule of General Pervez Musharraf, the military dictator had claimed that women play the victim card to get foreign citizenship.
“The CCPO has said something comparable to what Musharraf said. I ask as to what message we want to send across by guarding and praising such officials?” he asked.
PPP’s Sherry Rehman said by supporting the CCPO, the PTI government has told women that they are not safe in this country. “The victim had called police at 130 for help but no one came even after one hour,” she added.
The PPP leader claimed that now the government functionaries have now started a debate about public hanging of rapists to divert the public attention away from their incompetence.
A number of government functionaries including Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday suggested harsh punishments for sex offenders to prevent them committing the same crime in the future.
“I personally think paedophiles and rapists must be hanged publicly but I’m told that we have international repercussions.
“EU’s GSP status for trade with Pakistan will be affected by public hangings. Hence, I think chemical castration must be conducted on those criminals,” PM Imran had said in a TV interview.
Sherry Rehman asked government officials to stop calling the motorway crime a tragic incident. “This is not an incident. It is a premeditated gang-rape. I ask how dare the CCPO blame the victim for not driving with enough fuel,” she said.
A day earlier, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had noted that the entire Punjab cabinet should have apologised for the CCPO controversial remarks about the motorway gang-rape victim “but the ministers have chosen rather to defend the official.”
“Had the cabinet apologised for the CCPO’s remarks, the women of this nation would have felt safe. But instead, the Punjab government ministers have started defending the CCPO,” LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan remarked on Monday.
The court had also sought the notification for both the CCPO’s appointment and the committee formed to probe the motorway incident.