Karachi, Pakistan – Police in Pakistan believed that 15 people are linked to the rape of a woman on a major highway, an incident that has attracted national outrage with the demand for greater justice for victims of sexual violence.
The woman was attacked when her car broke down in the early hours of Thursday when she was on her way to Gujranwala, the capital of Punjab province, Lahore, with her children.
Unidentified assailants attacked her as she stopped her vehicle, robbed her car window at a nearby farm before raping her and looting cash and jewelry from her.
Local media reported that her children were made to watch.
Police said none of the 15 people arrested are part of the group that attacked him, police told the Associated Press.
On Friday, the provincial police said that no police have been deployed to protect passengers in the newly constructed highway, and they will begin those duties.
‘Victim Blaming’ outrage
Shortly after the incident, Lahore police chief Omar Sheikh became the subject of national outrage when he appeared to blame the victim for the rape, stating that the woman should not have traveled alone at that time.
Sheikh, who has been appointed to the post after some political controversy, is facing demands for resignation.
An activist and lawyer, Khadija Siddiqui, who was stabbed 23 times in an attack in 2016, said “such statements must begin with an apology from people accused of failing to protect the citizens of Pakistan.”
“They should apologize that women in this country have to suffer every day,” he said, adding that police officers dealing with gender-based violence were often “part of the problem”.
“They are complicated. Such people should not hold these positions in the police sector where we expect them to be the defenders of the state.”
Human rights defender Tahira Abdullah was also angry with the incident.
“This is just the iceberg of violent crimes committed against women and girls which are never reported, especially in our rural [areas], “Abdullah said.
However, she said: “It is a positive sign that this particularly heinous, barbaric gang rape and robbery case is getting a lot of publicity, which might lead to concrete action.”
Pushing for massive police reform in cases of gender-based violence, Abdullah said that carefully designed training is needed keeping in mind the sense of community-friendly policing.
“Each province requires a gender crime unit with specially trained women to provide hotlines, crisis shelters, urgent medico-legal assistance, DNA testing, help to file a case at the nearest police station, and long-term PTSD trauma and treatment .. ”
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s office said that the protection of women was a priority for the government, stating that “such cruelty and superiority cannot be allowed in any civilized society. Such incidents violate our social values Is and is a disgrace to society “.
Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister Shirin Mazari strongly criticized Sheikh for blaming the victim.
An officer effectively raised the issue by blaming a woman for gang rape effectively saying that she should have been questioned by GT Road or why she went out at night with her children. The crime of rape can never be rationalized. Bus.
– Shireen Mazari (@ ShireenMazari1) September 10, 2020
According to the Punjab Police, at least 2,043 cases of rape and 111 cases of gang rape have been registered in the state this year.
Pakistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (HRCP) Secretary General Harris Khalik said that violence against women and children has increased over the years, during which HRCP has registered an average of 10 cases of gender-based violence a day, including sexual Including assault and rape of minors.
“The severity of the incident on the highway is a woman begging the police not to make the case public,” Khalik said.
“Stigma is involved with this and the victim is convicted. A woman is raped in front of her children, and the Lahore police chief has the gall to say why she was driving late at night on her own Was living
Khaliq said, “There is a need to adopt legal and policy measures. There should be a change in attitude in society, differences of growing misunderstandings and intolerance are all interconnected,” Khalik said.
Horrific gang rape of a woman in #motorwayincident A serious warning that has become an increasingly dangerous place for Pakistan #Women. Not only should criminals be brought to justice, the motorway police must also act to fail to respond. 1/2
– Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (@ HRCP87) September 10, 2020