LAHORE - Several special police teams have launched investigations into the horrific gang rape of a woman on the Ring Road near Lahore’s Motorway in the Harbanspura police precincts.

Police sources on Thursday said that the investigators were using modern techniques including geo-fencing of the crime scene to trace the criminals. The police also detained several suspects from the locality where a major search operation was taking place till late Thursday.

An official said that the DNA samples of some of the suspects were being sent to Punjab forensic science agency. However, he said that no important arrest was made in the case so far.   

Punjab Police Inspector General Inam Ghani said that no effort should be spared to bring the accused involved in the rape of a woman to justice and if any such incident takes place in future then responsible police officers shall be answerable.

He stressed that the patrolling system should be made more effective by increasing police patrolling on the less-populated highways so that such heinous incidents may be stopped in future. Inam Ghani also said that investigation into the incident of a rape of a woman during dacoity is being conducted and the culprits will be arrested soon.

The police chief stated this while chairing a meeting at Central Police Office on Thursday. He said that 20 teams of Lahore Police and CIA, headed by DIG Investigation, were working day and night to arrest the culprits. He said that all possible investigation methods and resources including DNA evidence, geofencing, existing CCTV footage and NADRA records were being used to reach the culprits.  

He said that half a dozen suspects in the case were being investigated and raids were being carried out to nab dozens of former record holders in such incidents. During the meeting, the IG Punjab was informed that Lahore Police were working day and night to arrest the accused as soon as possible and the investigation teams had collected DNA and other important evidence from the spot to help trace the culprits.

The remarks of Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore Muhammad Umar Sheikh against a gang rape victim woman that why she chose a deserted route in late hours to reach her destination sparked outrage over social media.

Tens of thousands of social media users in Pakistan and around the world, as well as PML-N, PPP and JI leaders castigated the CCPO Lahore for his apathetic, controversial and apparently insulting remarks and urged the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan and Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Khan Buzdar to take notice of the callousness of the CCPO and to remove him from his office immediately.

Some close aides of PM and CM sitting in federal capital also jumped into the arena to rescue the outburst of recently appointed CCPO Lahore Muhammad Umar Sheikh.

The gang rape victim was a female namely (SB) who was subjected to the spiteful act by two robbers in front of her two children in a forest near Gujjerpura (Lahore-Sialkot) Motorway. The news  provoked response from across the country as well as from abroad by journalists, lawyers, TV anchors, politicians, police officers, students, activists of human rights, ministers, leaders of various political parties including PPP and PML-N and members of civil society on social media apps including twitter, whatsaap and Facebook.

They all took the opportunity to express solidarity with the victim and her children, while the CCPO Lahore Muhammad Umar Sheikh held the woman responsible for the occurrence of crime while talking to a private TV channel.

He stated, “The story is that the woman was gang raped near motorway for choosing a deserted route when she could have chosen another that passed through the thickly populated areas from Defence Lahore to Gujranwala.

Talking to TV channel, the CCPO said, “I wonder that a woman of three children has left DHA for Gujranwala at 12:30am alone. She should have checked her fuel gauge before plying on the road as there was no fuel station located on the route she opted to reach her destination.

This outburst of CCPO triggered a massive unrest on social media as people around the globe lambasted the police officer for holding a woman responsible for the incident by opting to travel alone.

Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari responded to the comments of CCPO Lahore by tweeting, “Nothing can rationalise the crime of rape. For an officer to effectively blame a woman for being gang-raped by saying she should have taken the GT Road or question as to why she went out in the night with her children is unacceptable,”

Ali Moheen Nawazish, a columnist, also expressed his deep anger over divulge of CCPO. He tweeted, “ CCPO Umar Sheikh, the favourite child who was so influential that he stayed and the IG went home, blames the woman who was raped on the motorway for not checking petrol and taking GT Road.  He said “Afsoos is per to hai, mashray per hai, aur hakoomat ki choice per sab se zayada hai,” (while the incident is lamentable and so is the society, the most lamentable is the choice of the government in making appointments).

Famous TV anchor Hamid Mir said on his social media handler that the woman who was gang-raped on the motorway thought that she was a resident of the state of Madinah. In this misunderstanding, she stood out of the house with her children. Instead of condemning sex terrorists, Lahore CCPO blamed the oppressed woman.

Another social media activist Mariam Chaudhry went on saying this man CCPO Lahore needs to be removed right now. How dare he blame the victim?

PPP’s Nafisa Shah expressed her anger on social media by saying, “CCPO should be sacked for blaming the victim. No woman can feel safe with a security chief with this sickening mindset. Shameful #ResignNow.”

 “A classic example of the shameful act of blaming the victim in our society is done by no other than the CCPO Lahore. If anyone who needs to be sacked it’s him. Blame the woman and be the man. Pathetic!,” tweeted by another leader of PPP Sharmila Farooqi.

Hassan Niazi, the nephew of PM Pakistan and a lawyer by profession, also condemned the statements of CCPO Lahore. He shared his views on social media that “Everyone tweet the hashtag #RemoveCCPOLahore - time for @UsmanAKBuzdar to wake up. Time for him to know what kind of crime rape is. Seems like for him it’s not big deal. As PTI voter I’m hurt and disturbed by the statement of CCPO lahore. How dare you blame the victim,”

Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khohar also expressed his solidarity with victim woman and her children. “Senate HR committee has taken notice of the rape incident in Lahore. Concerned authorities have been called to appear on the 16th (IG Motorway’s and Sec comm). Saw CCPO’s outrageous comments after agenda was issued. He should be asked to appear too and explain his insensitive remarks!” He tweeted.

The veteran journalist Syed Talat Hussain was of view that the police officer who said that the motorway rape victim should not have travelled on that route at night repeats his stance and adds that she (the woman raped in front of her children) thought this was France. And PM Imran’s right hand man, Shehzad Akbar, defends him!

Editor The Nation Salman Masood also criticized CCPO Lahore for his statement against the gang rape victim. He tweeted, “Lahore CCPO has mostly served in the backwater districts, away from spotlight of mainstream media, deploying crass, ham-handed tactics to ‘establish writ.’ Very hard for such a background to comprehend the changing times — and come out of parochial, patriarchal views. Out of sync”