Lahore’s Capital City Police Officer CCPO Umar Sheikh, who just recently issued an apology for blaming the victim of the Lahore motorway gang rape, on Monday again blamed the woman. He claimed that she was traveling without seeking permission from her husband.
On Monday, the committee summoned Sheikh to provide a briefing on the progress of the case that sparked outrage across the country as well as exposed the lack of security on a key route.
During the hearing, the CCPO expressed his presumption. He said that the incident took place because the victim “was traveling late at night without her husband’s permission”.
In addition to this, when the members of the committee asked if the victim had said this in her statement, the unapologetic CCPO said that it was his assumption. Despite facing massive criticism for his controversial remarks after the incident of gang rape earlier this month, Sheikh shamelessly continues to stick to his victim-blaming remarks.
Ever since the incident reported, CCPO has resorted to blame the motorway victim again. Amid the investigation and manhunt of rapists, CCPO Sheikh cast blame on the victim for reportedly traveling at night through the desolated highway.
As expected, his remarks sparked a nationwide outcry and the public demanded his removal from the office. Owing to the uproar, Sheikh issued an apology for his statement. However, his latest comments have again spurred the rage of disgruntled citizens.
The CCPO irked the human rights panel
The panel berated the CCPO for expressing his ‘presumption’. Moreover, when the committee reprimanded him for giving his personal opinions instead of stating facts of the case, Sheikh backtracked.
Reportedly, he said that he was told that the victim had left late at night because ‘she had to talk to her husband on video call’. The committee members said that providing security to citizens was the job of the State, regardless of the time and reason behind traveling.
Sheikh misquotes the main accused’s name
In addition to this, the CCPO informed the committee that the police had identified the culprits. That too, within 72-hours of the incident through DNA testing and geo-fencing. However, he misquoted the name of the absconding suspect. He named the absconding suspect as Babar Malik instead of Abid Ali.
A committee member reportedly pointed out that the main suspect’s name was Abid Ali, and said, “Is the main suspect Abid or Babar? You are investigating this case and you don’t know the name of the main suspect.”
Moreover, the members of the panel told the CCPO not to misguide the committee. Sheikh then apologized to the committee. He said that a joint session should be summoned so he can apologize to all lawmakers at once.
The fact that the CCPO thought it was perfectly fine to question the victim is outrageous. Blaming the victim for not being responsible enough about her car is an honest mirror into our society. Even after the public uproar to get this male chauvinist removed after his unacceptable statement, he continues his shameless victim-blaming.
On September 9, a mother of two was dragged to the nearest bushes and gang-raped by two men. The incident took place on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway. She was seeking help as she ran out of petrol in her car at the linked road near Gojra. The accused not only tortured her but also raped her in front of her children.
The city’s top cop has once again landed himself in hot water. If this is what a senior police official, responsible for the protection of citizens (which include women), thinks then who can women turn to?
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