Motorway gang-rape victim agrees to give statement after initial reluctance


LAHORE: The woman, who was gang-raped on a motorway here earlier this month leading to national outrage, has agreed to give her statement to the police. The Express Tribune reported that the police will request an in-camera trial. 

According to the Pakistan daily, the woman has also agreed to identify one of the suspects, Shafqat Ali, who was arrested in Okara district’s Depalpur. Earlier, the rape victim had refused to give her statement to the police.

This development comes after Pakistan police officer Umar Sheikh had stoked controversy by blaming the victim for the rape on Lahore-Sialkot motorway. In front of the Senate human rights panel, he had said 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 children on motorway after her car ran out of petrol. The incident resulted in national outrage and protests erupted throughout 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 had irked women rights organisations who hit the streets to protest and asked for his resignation.

On Monday, Sheikh was summoned by the committee to provide a briefing on the progress of the case 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, 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”.