ISLAMABAD: The PML-N on Friday demanded the PTI-led government remove Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) for Lahore, Umar Sheikh, immediately after the cop engaged in ‘victim-blaming’ over the horrific Lahore motorway rape earlier this week.
“Women’s dignity is not safe as long as this CCPO is in office”, party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said Friday.
The CCPO Lahore had in a TV interview blamed the motorway rape victim for leaving the home late at night and selecting the route she took that night.
Addressing a press conference here in the federal capital, Aurangzeb termed the motorway rape incident as “tragic” and demanded the CCPO Lahore be fired from his job so that “an example can be made out of him”.
“CCPO Lahore should be given as severe a punishment as will be handed out to the rapists,” she said. “CCPO sahab! That mother had her children with her, her protection was your responsibility!”
Cop’s comments ‘encouragement’ to rapists
The PML-N leader criticised CCPO Sheikh for engaging in victim-blaming and questioning a rape survivor’s choices instead of focusing on his duties and investigating why authorities did not respond in a timely fashion.
“CCPO Lahore asked why the women stepped out at night. CCPO asked why the women went out without a driver,” she said. “The woman called the police for assistance but no authority helped.
“CCPO Lahore’s focus should have been on why the police did not come to her rescue,” she added.
Aurangzeb stressed that comments such as those passed by Sheikh were “an encouragement” to those who perpetrated such horrific crimes.
“A federal minister comes and speaks in favour of the CCPO’s statement,” she added, referring to Planning Minister Asad Umar and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior, Shahzad Akbar — both of whom defended the cop.
Akbar had defended CCPO Sheikh’s statement, saying he saw “an unneeded controversy was created out of the CCPO’s earlier statement”.
“I have spoken to him about it, he will tell you himself what he meant by it,” Akbar had said.
Umar, on the other hand, said last night the cop had “not said anything illegal”.
“What action should we take against the CCPO? That he did not make a good statement?” he had asked, over calls for the CCPO’s removal.
Police jurisdiction ‘confusion’
The PML-N leader also slammed the government, as well as the authorities, for their silence and shifting responsibility citing jurisdiction issues.
“Police seem to be in confusion over jurisdiction,” she said. “The entire government, as well as the prime minister, is silent on this atrocity. The government has failed to ensure the protection of the Pakistani citizens.”
Some 110 million women demanded the removal of CCPO Sheikh, the politician underlined, adding how all blame was shifted to the gang-rape survivor.
“As long as this CCPO is in the office, women’s dignity will be not protected; he should be removed immediately,” she added, noting that terrorism clauses should be added to the case.
An initial probe into the gang-rape and contradictory statements of senior officers confirmed there was a lack of coordination between the Lahore Police and Motorway Police that led to a delayed response, providing criminals enough time to flee after committing the crime.