- Unapologetically inappropriate
Although CCPO Lahore Umar Sheikh first made headlines due to his alleged role in the ouster of former IGP Punjab Shoaib Dastigir to make room for a more agreeable man in Inam Ghani, he became particularly controversial for his atrocious remarks blaming the victim of the Motorway gang-rape for what had happened to her. Public outrage and a dressing down by the LHC Chief Justice had forced Sheikh to make a belated apology, but it would seem that it was a dishonest one as he doubled down on his stance, after stating in front of the Senate human rights panel that it was his “assumption” that the female victim in question was attacked because she was “travelling alone at night without her husband’s permission”. Such victim blaming, especially against women who have been sexually assaulted, is a product of a severely misogynistic society that we live in and the CCPO’s mindset reflects that reality. Notwithstanding Mr. Sheikh’s personal opinions about how and when females should be ‘allowed’ to be mobile, the main accused in the case is still at large after close to 20 days after the incident and the police do not seem to be any closer to finding him. Is it safe to assume then that the CCPO, who has now twice made it clear who he thinks is to be blamed for the rape, is no longer interested in bringing to book the person who committed the rape?
Mr. Sheikh is not very popular within his own department either. A few days back he had his personal secretary briefly put behind bars because of unsatisfactory work, who was later released after protests by the latter’s colleagues. Earlier, a sub-inspector resigned from his position after being verbally abused by the CCPO Lahore in a meeting. Even before getting the job, Mr. Sheikh did not enjoy a good or clean reputation and since taking charge he has made no effort to amend that, and rather has made it much easier for everyone to accept that the IB report on him is quite accurate. The leniency shown to Mr. Sheikh by the Punjab government suggests that he has the blessings of those who matter and is therefore indispensable. Without a fear of losing his job in the presence of such blanket immunity, why wouldn’t the CCPO say the things he says and do the things he does?