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September 16, 2020

After storm of protest: Shahbaz ‘sincerely’ sorry for motorway rape comments

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September 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif apologised for his ‘insensitive’ remarks delivered during his speech in the National Assembly in which he credited former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for having constructed the Sialkot Motorway during his tenure as prime minister. “Since this incident took place on the Sialkot motorway, I think it won’t be inappropriate to say that this motorway was also built under Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s supervision by the PML-N,” Shahbaz had said during his speech, reports Geo News.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, Shahbaz said he was “sincerely sorry” for his remarks that came across as sensitive.

“Couldn’t properly contextualize my comment during NA speech & it came across as insensitive. I didn’t mean it that way & am sincerely sorry for it. I’m devastated like all of u on this unfortunate incident. Hope Govt now provides security on Sialkot motorway 4 safety of citizens!” he tweeted. His comments were slammed on the social media by the Pakistani Twitterati, who criticised the former Punjab chief minister for claiming credit for building the motorway instead of focusing on the crime and how to prevent it from happening again.

Immediately after his speech, federal minister Murad Saeed said he accepted responsibility for the crime even though it had not taken place on the motorway.

Murad had expressed disappointment at Shahbaz’s remarks, stating that it was unfortunate how the PML-N president was claiming credit for building the motorway and the forensic lab where the tests were conducted.

Meanwhile, PML-N Secretary Information Marriyum Aurangzeb Tuesday said Shahbaz Sharif’s statement in the National Assembly on the Motorway rape was grossly misconstrued and quoted out of context.

In a statement Tuesday, Marriyum said Shahbaz had only pointed out absence of any system of public security on the motorway. She said Shahbaz meant that former premier Nawaz Sharif built the entire motorway but the PTI government was so incompetent that it could not even put in place a public security apparatus for the motorway, which led to creation of circumstances which resulted in this heinous crime.

She said the government was trying to divert attention from the real issue regarding accountability of the Lahore CCPO over blaming the victim. She said the entire nation was united on awarding strict punishment to the rapists.