Lahore CCPO Issues Half-Hearted Apology Over Statement Blaming Survivor Of Motorway Rape

After a national outrage over his controversial remarks, Lahore CCPO Umar Sheikh has extended an apology to the rape survivor and all sections of society for his statement that blamed the woman for the rape on the motorway causing widespread anger.

In a statement issued after the meeting with Punjab Governor Muhammad Sarwar, the city police said: “I apologise to the victim woman and all sections of society for my remarks.”

According to the CCPO, he did not mean to hurt anyone with his remarks; however, if the statement led to any misunderstanding, he apologises to the victim and all those angered by his remarks.

CCPO Sheikh said the police would soon nab culprits responsible for the crime.

Earlier in the day, the Lahore High Court took strong exception to the remarks made by the CCPO, questioning what kind of probe was it that the police were blaming the victim instead of arresting the suspects. The high court had made these comments while hearing a plea about the formation of a judicial commission in the case.

Woman blamed for rape:

Sheikh, who was tasked to probe the rape of a woman on the motorway had questioned the choices of the woman, saying the woman should have taken a different route –a less deserted one– and checked her petrol tank before embarking on her journey.

Sheikh said that he was surprised that the woman — a mother of three travelling alone at night– chose to travel via Ring Road instead of taking the GT Road that was relatively ‘safe’.

He went on to say that if she had decided to go to Gujranwala via motorway, she should have checked her fuel tank because there were no petrol pumps on that route.

After making the remarks, he reiterated the same statement in another TV show. Sheikh said that women shouldn’t go out of their houses if they are not accompanied by any male family member.

According to the CCPO, the women should go out of their house with an adult male, but there is no male in the house, they should take a kid along. “But if they don’t find anyone who could accompany them, then instead of going out at night, they should just go to sleep.”

Calls for removal:

The insensitive remarks made by the Lahore police chief pertaining to the rape of a woman on the motorway prompted a strong response from social media activists, who demanded the removal of CCPO Umar Sheikh from the top post for being a ‘rape apologist’.

The statement of the police officer caused a strong reaction on Twitter, resulting in #RemoveCCPOLahore becoming one of the top trends.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Muhammad Khan also endorsed the removal of Lahore CCPO Umar Sheikh after he made a controversial statement blaming the survivor of the motorway rape case for the incident.

On Friday, people from different walks of life held a demonstration against the statement of Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Sheikh blaming the victim. Women lawmakers from the PML-N gathered outside the CCPO office to protest the incident and seek the police officer’s removal.