Senate body gets in fury as CCPO skips meeting

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By Uzma Zafar

Islamabad: The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday expressed strong displeasure over the absence of Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umer Sheikh, who recently garnered widespread criticism over his remarks shifting the blame of the motorway gang-rape on the victim.
Last week, two robbers on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway had gang-raped a mother of two in front of her children in an area falling within the Gujjarpura police jurisdiction. The incident caused a countrywide outpouring of anger and brought sexual violence against women into national focus.
The Senate human rights committee had directed the CCPO to appear at its meeting today in person, but Sheikh failed to do so without notifying the body of a reason.
“Has the CCPO descended from the sky?” asked committee chairman Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar. “Top officials are present here but the CCPO did not show up.”
He added that the police officer’s absence was “unacceptable”. The committee decided to submit a privilege motion against the Lahore CCPO and issued summons to ensure the officer’s presence at its next hearing. On Monday, CCPO Sheikh had publicly apologised to the motorway gang-rape victim for his earlier remarks implying that she shared responsibility for her rape.
Following the rape, the CCPO had invited criticism when he pontificated that the victim had failed to take due precautions before setting off for her journey.
According to the Lahore police chief’s logic, the woman could have avoided being at the wrong place at the wrong time. He said she should have taken the more populated GT Road to Gujranwala instead of going via motorway.