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Pakistan police detain a suspect in highway rape

AP/Lahore
Filed on September 13, 2020 | Last updated on September 13, 2020 at 02.33 pm
Pakistan, rape, arrest
People carry signs against a gang-rape that occurred along a highway and to condemn violence against women and girls during a protest in Karachi.

(Reuters)

Arrest was made after police tracked phone records and collected forensic evidence

Pakistani police on Sunday said they have arrested one of two suspects in the rape of a woman who was dragged from her car and attacked in front of her children after her car broke down on a desolate highway in central Punjab province.

The police said the woman had locked her car doors when she ran out of fuel. She called highway police for help.

As she waited, police said two attackers broke her car window, dragged her outside and raped her in front of her terrified children.

The suspects are also accused of stealing cash and jewellery from the woman before fleeing.

Chief of the criminal investigation wing of the Punjab police, Atif Nazeer, said the arrest of one of the men was made after security tracked phone records and collected forensic evidence from the scene near the eastern city of Lahore.

Nazeer said the suspect denies any involvement in the rape, which took place on Wednesday. Some local media are reporting that the suspect turned himself over to police to plead his innocence.

The assault drew widespread condemnation on social media, with protesters demanding the perpetrators be publicly hanged.

Recently appointed Lahore police chief Umar Sheikh has been criticised for apparently blaming the victim for travelling alone with her two children after midnight without checking whether her car had enough fuel. Women's rights activists have urged the government to fire Sheikh over his remarks.

Gang rape is rare in Pakistan, although sexual harassment and violence against women is commonly reported.

Nearly 1,000 women are killed in Pakistan each year in so-called "honour killings" for allegedly violating conservative norms on love and marriage.


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