#HangTheRapists top trend, where is Accountability in the Motorway Abuse Case?

The nation demands public hanging of rapists across Pakistan.

In the light of recent events that involve a victim of sexual abuse, the people of Pakistan stand in support for the woman who is one in a list of many, victims of sexual abuse seeking justice against their perpetrators, across the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

It is to be noted that the woman in question was recently travelling from Lahore to Gujranwala, where she reportedly lives, around 12:30 am (as per Pakistan Standard Time) when her car broke down. The woman reportedly contacted family members for help as she waited, inside the car with her young kids, when she was attacked by two yet unidentified men, who broke the windows of her car to pull her and the kids out. They then proceeded to drag them to a secluded area in the nearby bushes where they reportedly sexually abused the mother in the presence of the kids.

So far the newly appointed CCPO Lahore has landed himself in hot water, and rightfully so, for passing comments highly insensitive and inappropriate given the nature of the incident, and participating in what is socially accepted to be “victim blaming”, that is, putting the blame of the accident on the victim. In this case, the CCPO Lahore claimed that it was the woman’s fault for travelling so late at night, in the absence of a male guardian and with little kids, without a thought to the condition of her car such as making sure if she had enough gasoline, and so on. While multiple celebrities and government officials have spoken up in support of the woman and called out the CCPO for his indecent remarks, the government is yet to take any action against the culprits.

This however, begs certain questions. For those who are putting the blame solely on the woman, perhaps she had some sort of emergency and needed to get home when she got stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. Of course, as a woman myself living in Pakistan (or anywhere rather) I feel it would have been better for her to travel during the day with proper evaluation of her car, however, nothing and no reason, is good enough to justify the acts that followed. Whether the woman was travelling alone or not, nothing gives the two men (worse than animals even), the right to break her windows and make her victim to such a heinous crime.

Secondly, what is worse is that not only have those vile people victimized the young mother, they have scarred her children for life. What future can we hope for such a family, now broken beyond repair? Their physical scars may heal with time but nothing can mend the cracks in their psyche caused by this horrendous incident.

This further begs the question, what is the role of our government in all this? Where is our Prime Minister, who hoped to make Pakistan Riyasat-e-Madinah? Where is our Human Rights Minister, Shireen Mazari? The continued silence from their end is giving a very dangerous message for the future generations. Isn’t the purpose of a party in government specific to helping the people? If the PTI government does not take action in such instances, they are giving a very negative message to not just the national community but also to the international community.

Moreover, following the tragic incident, people are commenting that “No one is safe in this country!” and I feel that there is some semblance of truth to this statement, because there have been more publicly discussed and highlighted cases of rape and sexual abuse surfacing every which way in the last six years than any other incidents of abuse, irrespective of one’s gender, age, and even religion.

Thereby, it is pertinent to question the motives behind PM Khan’s slogan of wanting to make Riyasat-e-Madinah in Pakistan. He seriously needs to come down from his high horse and actually take a stand against culprits of moral corruption, because we need to remember that Riyasat-e-Madinah was the kind of society that:

  • Supported and protected its woman, liberated its women.
  • If the women were taught to cover themselves properly, men were taught to first lower their gaze!
  • Men and women were taught to practice control of the nafs, including sexual desires and drives! (If one must indulge, it is to be done with one’s spouse, and NOT with little boys and girls coming from or going somewhere, NOT with boys and girls seeking religious education, and especially NOT with women stuck in the middle of the road at night, waiting for their family to get to them).
  • It was a society that, even in the case of war, strongly opposed hurting women, children and the elderly as well as promoting the idea of being mindful towards property of other people.

So how is it, that we claim to live in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan but we hurt our women, children and the elderly, we damage peoples property and we claim that we are just, that we are good, pious human beings and Muslims?

Given the circumstances, no rational and/or sane person can or will attempt to justify the act of rape, such as the case with CCPO Lahore! If one really must consider that the woman was at fault for her negligence with regards to the upkeep of her car, we cannot undermine thatthe fault still lies with the men who thought they could fulfill their unjust and haraam desires on a helpless woman, especially in the presence of her children, whose innocent souls have been tainted perhaps beyond repair.

REMEMBER: NOTHING JUSTIFIES ABUSE AND RAPE!

Therefore, the demand of the people that CCPO Lahore should be removed from his position is apt and absolutely just! Because by not taking proper legal action against the culprits and offering much-needed consolation to the troubled family in their hour of need, is in fact in lieu of CCPO Lahore supporting and abetting the actions of the abusers. CCPO Lahore should thereby, be held accountable for his actions and words and punished so that no one in the legal system dares to side with those on the wrong side.

The people of Pakistan are fully showing their support, in the aftermath of the incident going so far as to say that the rapists, and all the people directly or indirectly supporting them, be hanged for their crime. #HangTheRapists is even trending on social media across Pakistan. The Sanniah Experience! blog has even used hashtags: #AccountabilityForAll and #MakeProperLaws to support the cause of justice for the victim.

Enough is enough, the time is up. Speak up! If not now then when? How many more victims do we want? If the situation progresses as it has been doing for the past six years, then the government will be bound to leave, but if they wish to stay then the time for them to act has come. If this is the Riyasat-e-Madinah, the Naya Pakistan promised to us by Imran Khan, then we don’t want it. We want a safer Pakistan.

The system has failed us time and again, it doesn’t matter if Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif or Imran Khan is in government. What matters is the steps they take to ensure safety and security of all their citizens rather than just a sect or class, respectively. As I pray for justice for the troubled family, I leave the matter in the court of Allah Almighty who will surely ensure proper justice, because as my elders used to say: “Allah k ghar main dair hogi, par andhair kabhi nai! Uski laathi be-awaaz hai!” loosely translated to mean that while there may be a delay in the justice of Allah, justice will prevail no matter what, and His justice will be silent but will resonate with all.

(For the complete twitter thread, click here.)

In light of recent events, Pakistani people stand in support of the victim and her family. We demand justice for the past and current victims because it is high time the government wakes up.

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