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Outcry in Pakistan as police blame woman who was gang raped for driving at night

Published by Yahoo on Thu, 10 Sep 2020

The gang rape of a stranded woman motorist in front of her children has caused outcry in Pakistan with calls for the public hanging of the culprits. Anger over the attack on a woman who had broken down on a motorway outside Lahore was then increased after a senior police officer appeared to blame the victim for her choice of route. Police on Thursday said they had arrested 12 suspects for questioning during an extensive manhunt. The woman with her two children was driving to Gujranwala when she was forced to stop at the Gujjarpura section of the motorway after her car ran out of fuel at around 1:30am. She called relatives for help, but before they could arrive, two robbers approached the car, smashed the windows and dragged her and her children from the vehicle. The attackers also took jewellery, bank cards and 466 in cash. A senior Lahore police officer later provoked further condemnation when he appeared to blame the victim. Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Sheikh questioned why the woman had taken that route and why she had not checked her fuel tank. His comments were condemned by Shireen Mazari, the human rights minister. 'For an officer to effectively blame a woman for being gang raped by saying she should have taken the Grand Trunk Road, or question as to why she went out in the night with her children is unacceptable and I have taken up this issue,' she said. 'Nothing can ever rationalise the crime of rape. That's it.' Inspector-General of Punjab Police Inam Ghani claimed that by Thursday night officers had identified the culprits' village. Opposition leaders quickly attacked what they said was the government's breakdown in law and order. 'This is a matter of national embarrassment and evidence of a completely broken down legal system,' said Shehbaz Sharif, opposition leader in the national assembly. Gang rape is rare in Pakistan, although sexual harassment and violence against women is not uncommon. Nearly 1,000 women are killed in Pakistan each year in so-called "honour killings" for allegedly violating conservative norms on love and marriage.
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