LAHORE: The Lahore motorway gang-rape victim has identified both offenders of the crime, said Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz-ul-Hasan Chohan on Thursday during a press conference.
“The lady has identified both Abid and Shafqat,” Chohan said, adding that “It was due to Waqar-ul-Hasan’s arrest that we were able to reach Shafqat”.
Shafqat Ali was arrested on Monday for his alleged involvement in the case and was remanded into police custody for 14 days by an accountability court, while the prime suspect, Abid Ali, remains at large.
The incident has drawn nationwide outcry and anger of the evident lack of safety for women, as well as the stance of the case’s lead investigator, Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Sheikh.
Sheikh was served a show-cause notice by the Punjab government after making victim-blaming statements wherein he questioned why the woman did not take GT Road or check her fuel before travelling. The chief minister of Punjab termed this as an “irrelevant” statement.
After the incident, there have been protests calling for public hangings of rapists.
Furthermore, the incident has laid bare the “failed” police patrolling system of the province, as observed by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan.
The incident itself took place when a woman’s car stopped on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway. Two men approached the car, broke the window, raped the woman in front of her children, and robbed her.
This took place near Gujranwala around 1:30 am at the Gujjarpura section of the motorway after the car reportedly ran out of fuel.
She immediately called a relative and sent him her location. He asked her to dial the Motorway Police helpline 130 in the meanwhile, but there was no response.
During a senate meeting regarding the case, the role of the motorway police was discussed as well.
National Highways and Motorway Police Inspector General (IG) Dr Syed Kaleem Imam told the committee that the victim had called the helpline at 02:01 am. The call was received by an operator named Abid, who told the woman that her location did not fall within the Motorway Police’s jurisdiction.
“The woman talked very normally during the call and did not inform about her children,” IG Imam added, saying that there was “no administrative failure” that resulted in the incident.