Aurat Foundation condemns motorway gang rape incident

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KARACHI: The Aurat Foundation on Tuesday "strongly condemned" the motorway gang rape case and criticised the law enforcement agencies for their “total failure” in protecting the citizens, said a statement issued by women's rights group.

"It is the duty of the state to protect its citizens, women, men and children, irrespective of the time, whether it is day or night, whether they are travelling alone or are in the company of others", said the statement.

The statement came after Lahore police chief Umar Sheikh blamed the rape victim for travelling late at night and selecting the route that she took. The officer has apologised over his insensitive remarks which drew ire from the public.

The foundation said that rape has been declared a "crime against humanity" by the international community through a resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations in 2008.

It added that it was "unfortunate" that a senior police official blamed the rape survivor for travelling alone and being influenced by the security situation in France.

"There cannot be any excuse or justification for any crime, in particular for a heinous crime like rape. Is this admission of the inability of the law-enforcers that they cannot guarantee safety and security to its citizens?" asked the women's rights organisation.

The foundation called upon the prime minister, chief minister Punjab and provincial police chief to "prosecute and punish" the suspects in the case. The group said that justice should be provided to the rape survivor to dispel the impression that "law of the jungle" reigns supreme in the country.

The incident

The two robbers had allegedly gang-raped a woman in front of her children when her car broke down on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway last week in an area falling within Gujjarpura police station's jurisdiction.

The woman, along with her two children, was driving to Gujranwala when she was forced to stop at around 1:30am at the Gujjarpura section of the motorway after reportedly running out of fuel.

She immediately called a relative and sent him her location. He asked her to also dial the Motorway Police helpline 130 from which she reportedly received no response.

In the meantime, two robbers reportedly approached the car, broke the window, and took the woman and her children to nearby bushes where they allegedly raped her in front of the children.

They also allegedly snatched her purse carrying Rs100,000 in cash, one bracelet, car registration papers, and three ATM cards.

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