Muhammad Zubair Shahid
9th September 2020 around midnight a lady travelling from Lahore to Gujranwala along with her two kids was robbed and violated by two dacoits and the kids were forced to witness this atrocious act, the horrifying and heinous incident took place on the road which connects Lahore Ring Road with Sialkot and Islamabad Motorways.
The newly constructed road is functional since March-2020 and frequently used by passengers and commercial vehicles. I am regular user of this road, as I take the road to approach my office. In last six months I have not witnessed a single patrolling vehicle of Lahore Ring Road Police, Motorways Police, Lahore Police or any of law enforcing agency. Road safety and passenger’s security is the prime factor which needs to be considered before inaugurating any facility. It is reported that victim had called Motorways Police help line but was denied any assistance because the area is not covered by PNH&MP. Unfortunately, none of the government agency is ready to take the responsibility and it is yet unknown under whom jurisdiction this road falls. The road has multiple access point other than the tool plaza, and these access points are regularly used by local villagers to access the road. Unauthorized access to the road is major cause of such incidents on the highways specially in the absence of Police patrols. According to former Assistant Commissioner of Gujjarpura Kulsume Hai tweeted “As a former AC of the area Gujjarpura where the rape happened, I can say that it is one of the most criminal areas. Any road that passes through that area should be patrolled round the clock. It’s unsafe even in daytime”.
Little headway has been made towards the conclusion, FIR has been logged in PS Gujjar Pura, and police has employed a blend of traditional and modern techniques for investigation on the crime scene, 15 suspects have been arrested for DNA testing and investigation, conclusion is yet to be reached. Meanwhile high-powered committee is constituted under the Command of DIG Police to probe into the case. CCPO Lahore pontified that lady had failed to take the precautionary measures, she could have used the alternate route Via GT road, and she ignored to check the fuel gauge before leaving for her journey. This is true but simultaneously it is duty of government and police to secure each and every street, road and highway for its citizens, this statement does not acquit police from its duty and responsibility.
It is important to note that despite several laws of women’s safety have been passed yet the rape and child sexual abuse cases are increasing to alarming level. 3881 rapes cases have been registered in Punjab in 2019. Implementation on law is critical to curb such crimes.
According to the recent reports Punjab Police has deployed Punjab Highways Patrolling Police and SPU units on Sialkot Motorway for the safety and security of commuters. This should be questioned from all responsible why this decision was not taken earlier, this could have avoided this unpleasant incident.It is expected from the law enforcing agencies that culprits will be brought to justice as soon as possible, it is a test case for newly appointed and controversial CCPO Lahore.
The Writer is a qualified accountant ACMA and CGMA from The Chartered Institute Of Management Accountants London United Kingdom.