Monday July 22, 2024

Motorway gang rape 'blind incident with no evidence': Punjab law minister

"A special committee has been formed by the IGP which is probing the incident, under which about 28 teams are working"

By Web Desk
September 11, 2020
Punjab law minister Raja Basharat addressing the media after surveying the crime scene, on September 11, 2020. — Geo News

Punjab law minister Raja Basharat on Friday said that the motorway gang rape  reported earlier this week is a "blind incident with no evidence".

The law minister was addressing the media after having surveyed the crime scene on Lahore's Ring Road highway.

Late Wednesday night, a woman was allegedly assaulted, raped and robbed by multiple men in front of her children when her car ran out of fuel outside Lahore, near Gujjarpura.

"This is a blind incident. There is no overt evidence to take the matter forward. We will have to develop the evidence through an investigation and have it corroborated and only then will we be able to get to a point where we can have a concrete picture," the law minister said.

He said he "accepts" that it is a challenge for the Lahore police, and therefore, is a challenge for the Punjab government.

"Our monitoring committee is reviewing all administrative aspects and we are looking at how we can take the investigation forward," Basharat said.

"There is a special committee formed by the IGP which is probing the incident under which about 28 teams are working. They are looking at the case from various angles

"Whatever evidence we could collect from the crime scene we did and the forensic team will present a report soon. The lady's medical tests have also been carried out," he added.

At this time the Punjab government and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar's "total emphasis" is on apprehending the culprits.

The law minister said that the people's sentiments were high at the moment and so is the government sorrowful over the incident.

"The provincial government is responsible for the safety of our women [...] we will put forward recommendations to the chief minister so that such incidents do not occur in the future."

He said the Punjab Highway Patrolling Authority was made dysfunctional but now the chief minister has approved the purchase of new cars for the unit and for better patrolling, 500 new cars are being purchased for the police force in general.

Basharat said the people's confidence will be restored when the culprits are brought to justice and "no one responsible will be able to escape punishment".

To a question regarding why — even though the motorway has been functional for eight months — motorway police say it hasn't been handed over to them, and how he thinks crime can be controlled when the police station that has jurisdiction is a whole 10 kilometres away, Basharat said the matter is between the National Highway Authority and Frontier Works Organisation.

"We are also examining this aspect of the matter — why there was an ineffective patrolling system. NHA says some work is remaining [...] but this is a separate matter," the law minister said.

'Eyewitness' surfaces

Meanwhile, a man claiming to be an eyewitness to the incident, told Geo News via telephone that he "saw one of the robbers dragging the woman out to the fields".

"The man was also slapping the woman," he claimed, adding that one other man was standing behind her car.

The man said he called the 15 police helpline to inform them of the incident.