Image Source: Courtesy of The News International
A horrifying and barbarous incident that angered the whole nation and ignited protests against the brutality (gang rape) that happened at the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway a week ago. A woman along with her children was driving on a motorway and ran out of petrol, contacted the motorway authorities but did not get the abrupt response.
In the interim, two men came with guns and raped her in the field with her children watching. The prime suspect has been arrested and there is an active and ongoing search for the second one according to Punjab government sources but he is not admitting the crime. Accomplice in the rape, Shafqat Ali has confessed to his crime before his DNA test and Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar also confirmed it through his tweet.
“Our entire team is constantly trying to arrest the accused Abid Ali, whose arrest is expected soon, God willing,” Buzdar said on Twitter.
The victim has refused to record any statement till now as her family said she is not in a condition to do so. Following this malicious incident, security has been on high alert and police has become more vigilant, deploying 100 police officials on motorways.
Punjab government made a committee headed by Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat while additional chief secretary Home Department, the additional IG special branch, DIG investigation Punjab and the DG Forensic Science Agency would be the members of the committee.
It’s not the first time such an incident has shaken the nation as a whole; with the past few years seeing a sharp rise in crimes against women. Not long ago, the beautiful and innocent souls including Zainab (a child) has been raped and murdered followed by many other young girls. People are furious over our security agencies and government whilst demanding swift justice to make Pakistan a secure place for women and children.
Pakistani celebrities and social media influencers have been raising their voices through their social media platforms to curb this rampant crime in our society. Emphasizing on having justice, hang the culprits and make an example out of it. Lately, Pakistani celebrities organized a protest at Karachi press club and showcased their concerns regarding this sensitive issue, demanding to make Pakistan secure for women and children.
Adding fuel to the fire is the irresponsible statement by CCPO Umar Sheikh Lahore police who stated; “I am surprised that a mother of three, a lone driver […] after leaving Defence should have taken the straight route from GT Road — a generally well-populated area,” He later apologized for his insensitive remarks. The key suspect Abid Ali is still at large and government authorities are raiding different locations to apprehend him.
Women in Pakistan are now getting aware of their fundamental rights and raising voices against the violence that continues to persist in our society-which is a good sign indeed. From domestic violence to rapes, women have suffered as not enough has been done to curb the violence prevalent in the society. But as the time is changing and people are more valiant in speaking out, spurred on by a more accepting culture in light of the #metoo movement in the past few years, we are witnessing a change in the perspectives of our public.
The proliferation of social media use, coupled with greater female emancipation has allowed for the opinions and voices of women to be better heard. Such social pressure has and is incrementally translating into social and political action that has paved the way for certain laws for women protection and security in Pakistan but there is still a long road ahead until the women in our society can enjoy their basic constitutional rights and feel truly safe to step out the house.