LHC hints at stern action in motorway gang-rape case
The Lahore High Court (LHC) Monday sought a report from the Punjab IGP on the security situation with the regard to the highways within two days and said the culprits involved in the motorway gang-rape should be arrested immediately.
As LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan heard the matter, he hinted at strict action against the police. The time had come not to accept any apology and take a stern action, he remarked as he directed the provincial police chief, Inam Ghani, to submit a report on the ongoing investigation as well.
His remarks about not accepting any apology came as Lahore CCPO Umer Sheikh, five days after his insulting remarks about the motorway gang-rape victim and the resultant protests across the country, opted for an apology.
In this connection, he expressed these views while talking to media persons but only after the LHC ordered him to appear in person after it declared a petition maintainable, which sought his immediate removal.
As the LHC issued the directives, the CCPO reached the Governor’s House and met with Chaudhry Sarwar. Later, he tendered an apology to the gang-rape victim and all the segments of society who were offended by his statement.
About the judicial inquiry into the incident, the chief justice, who was hearing a petition seeking the removal of Sheikh, said the law was clear who had the powers to launch the process.
Later, the court adjourned further hearing of the matter till September 16 while directing that the officer to personally petrol the highways across the province.
Meanwhile, Sheikh appeared before the court after the LHC directed earlier in the day to appear in person.
On Monday morning, the LHC decided to hear the petitions against the transfer of former Punjab Police chief Capt (retd) Shoaib Dastgir and for the Lahore CCPO’s removal.
In the case of the petition moved by Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan of PML-N on the former Punjab IGP’s transfer, Chief Justice Muhammad Khan overruled the objection raised by the registrar’s office conditionally. The court would decide whether the petitioner was an affected party or not, he observed.
On the other hand, the LHC accepted for hearing another application, seeking the removal of the Lahore police chief over his statement against the motorway gang-rape victim. The move came as the chief justice overruled the objections raised by the registrar’s office.
As the chief justice directed to fix the petition filed by Malik, the chief justice remarked that he would a pass judgment according to the powers he had under the Constitution. “I am person who remains in his crease. I do not act beyond my limits,” he added.
He passed these orders as Additional Advocate General Malik Abdul Aziz Awan could not satisfy the court through his arguments on the transfer issue.
Similarly, the court set aside the objection regarding the maintainability of a petition calling for the CCPO’s removal after rejecting the additional advocate general’s request to declare it unmaintainable.
He argued that Sheikh was posted as per law as transfers and posting was a right of the government, adding that the petitioner wasn’t an affected party.
However, Awan wasn’t able to satisfy the court in his matter too like that of the former IGP’s transfer.
Sheikh’s comments about the motorway gang-rape have got attention both in national and international media as he had blamed her for the horrific incident, saying that she shouldn’t have travelled without a male family member during the night.
He also suggested that the woman thought it was France where she could move freely any time of the day or night without any safety concerns.