Sunday, September 20, 2020

Protests shake Pakistan over rape investigation

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The protests were held in several Pakistani cities for a second day on Saturday over the handling of an investigation into the gang rape of a mother traveling with her children on a highway.

This is when the police said they were initiating a manhunt for the suspects.

The woman, who police say is in her early 30s, was driving outside the eastern city of Lahore with her two children on Tuesday night when her vehicle ran out of fuel.

She called the police for help, but before they arrived, two men took her and her children out of the vehicle at gunpoint and raped her along the road. Inam Ghani, inspector general for Punjab province, where the incident occurred, told reporters on Saturday night that police had identified the two suspects through DNA tracing.

“I am hopeful that very soon we will catch up with them and arrest them,” he said.

But the protesters are not satisfied and called for the dismissal of the chief police investigator assigned to the case, Omar Sheikh.

Sheikh has repeatedly pointed to what he felt were mistakes made by the victim, such as that she should have taken a different, busier road, not traveled at night and made sure her vehicle had enough fuel.

She also said that she seemed to get the impression that Pakistan was as safe for women as France, “her country of residence.”

Requests for comment to the French Embassy in Islamabad received no response.

In Islamabad, several hundred protesters gathered, some waving French flags and others carrying signs reading “Hang the rapists.”

Hundreds, mostly women, also gathered in Lahore, Karachi and even in the conservative northwestern city of Peshawar.

YAYA

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