Public Outcry in Pakistan After Robbers Gang-rape Woman in Front of Her 3 Children in Punjab Province

A Pakistani woman was allegedly gang-raped in front of her three children by robbers on a motorway in Punjab province, triggering public outcry.

The woman was driving on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway on Wednesday when her car stalled near Gujjarpura area either due to shortage of petrol or some fault, police said.

In the FIR, she said that she was waiting for her relative to arrive and pick her children and herself from the spot when two armed robbers smashed her car window and attacked her. The robbers took her and children to a nearby field and gang-raped her, police said.

They also took away her purse that had cash, jewellery and three ATM cards, she said in her statement to police. Newly-appointed Lahore police chief Umer Shiekh said he has constituted multiply teams to arrest the culprits. He said some 12 suspects have been taken into custody so far.

Sheikh, however, “blamed” the women for the incident saying she should have taken GT Road to go to her house in Gujranwala. I am shocked she, a mother of three, and the only driver late at night should have taken the GT (Grand Trunk) Road instead, which is densely populated, he said.

Political leaders, civil society and rights activists have condemned the incident and blamed the Punjab government for its failure to ensure law and order in the province. Opposition Jamaat-i-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq has given an ultimatum of 48 hours to the Punjab government to arrest the culprits otherwise it would launch a countrywide protest.

He said. “Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team have politicised the police in Punjab and there are infighting among the police officials to grab better slots and no one is paying attention to the deteriorating law and order.” PML-N president and opposition leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif said nothing could be more shameful than this incident. He demanded justice for the woman and exemplary punishment for the rapists.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz said: The tragic rape incident on motorway is as traumatising and heart-rending for me as it is for the entire nation. Such incidents are indicative of a deeper malaise that warrant a national response so as to put an end to the curse that stems from a culture that encourages impunity.

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