Uproar after 'victim blaming' in Pakistan gang rape case
Police chief's remarks draw ire from politicians, women's rights activists
A Pakistani police chief faced a growing backlash on Friday after he seemed to blame the victim in a gang rape case because she was driving at night without a male companion.
The controversy started after a woman said she was assaulted and raped by multiple men in front of her two children when her car ran out of fuel near the eastern city of Lahore late on Wednesday.
Speaking to media, Lahore police chief Umar Sheikh repeatedly chided the victim for driving at night without a man, adding that no one in Pakistani society would "allow their sisters and daughters to travel alone so late".
Sheikh went on to say the woman - a resident of France - probably "mistook that Pakistani society is just as safe" as her home country.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said his remarks were unacceptable.
"Nothing can ever rationalise the crime of rape," she added.
Protests were held in cities across Pakistan on Friday, and Sheikh's comments sparked demands for his resignation.
"We don't want him in office," protester Shaheena Khan said at a rally in Islamabad.
"We want security from the police and the government. It is their job".
Lawyer and woman's rights activist Khadija Siddiqi told AFP that Sheikh's comments were part of an unfortunate and "very rampant" culture of victim blaming in Pakistan.
"We are angry, we demand his removal and we demand his apology," said Nighat Dad, a women's rights activist and one of the organisers of an annual women's rights march in Lahore.
Activists have denounced pervasive, sometimes deadly violence by men - usually male relatives - against women who break those taboos.
Around a thousand Pakistani women are murdered in honour killings each year - in which the victim, normally a woman, is killed by a relative for bringing shame on the family.
Police chief's remarks draw ire from politicians, women's rights... READ MORE
Dr Tedros says Pakistan is among 7 countries others should seek to... READ MORE
The father now has a pending bill of around Dh90,000 after getting... READ MORE
The drug has shown positive results in all the initial preclinical... READ MORE
"The pandemic has exploited these injustices, preyed on the most... READ MORE
The ministry said Umrah would be allowed to resume at full capacity... READ MORE
Experts noted that agile data collection and research is necessary to ... READ MORE
Haifa Abdullah Alharbi, a Saudi businesswoman in Abu Dhabi, said the... READ MORE