Pakistan: 15 arrested for allegedly raping woman on motorway in Lahore, protests erupt across cities
The protests, held in cities such as Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, were organised by the Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell, Women Democratic Front and Aurat March.
Protests broke out in cities across Pakistan on Saturday against the alleged gangrape of a woman in Lahore. Fifteen people have been arrested in connection with the gangrape, which took place around 1.30 am on September 11 by the side of a motorway in Lahore, The Guardian reported.
The woman was driving a car with her children, when it broke down on the motorway as it ran out of fuel. She called the police and waited. However, at least two men allegedly broke the windows of her car, dragged her and her two children out of the vehicle and raped her multiple times in front of the kids, the newspaper said.
The incident brought Pakistanis out onto the streets on Saturday, Dawn reported. The protests were organised by a group called the Aurat March. The group set forth five demands, including an end to violence, affirmative steps by the government to uphold rights and ensure justice, removal of Lahore Capital City Police Officer Umer Sheikh and any other official who blames the woman, structural and procedural reforms in the laws and effective and transparent investigation.
The charter of demands the organisation tweeted included protection of transgender persons, banning the two-finger test for rape and providing additional resources and training for reporting, investigating and prosecuting of crimes pertaining to sexual violence. It also demanded that all public spaces be made safe for women, gender-sensitive curricula be introduced and government spending on women’s health, education and safety be increased.
At a protest site in Islamabad, Ismat Shahjahan, the president of the Women Democratic Front, alleged that women, children and even animals were not safe in Pakistan. “They [women] are unsafe around their relatives at home and around male colleagues in their offices,” she alleged. “If you demand public hangings, will you hang half of Pakistan on street corners? There are rapists [in this country] from mosques to the Parliament.”
Tooba Syed, a member of the Women Democratic Front, said women will continue to be raped as long as they are told not to step out of their homes. Other women at the protest in Islamabad cheered her and shouted slogans.
Many protestors also gathered at Liberty Chowk in Lahore to demand justice for the woman. The protest was led by Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell, Women Democratic Front and Aurat March.
In Karachi, the protest was organised at the Karachi Press Club. People gathered at the protest shouted slogans such as “mera jism, meri marzi [my body, my choice]”.