Punjab IGP directs deployment of more security personnel on motorway

LAHORE: Days after a gang-raped incident, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab has directed the deployment of highway patrol and special protection personnel on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway.

The orders come after the incident that has caused countrywide outrage and exposed a lack of security on routs of the Lahore motorway.

The IGP in a letter noted that ever since its operationalization, the newly constructed Lahore-Sialkot Motorway has “remained unmanned both in terms of security and traffic management” and the Motorway Police has not taken over it thus far.

It said the IGP has ordered the PHP to deploy manpower on the 91-kilometer stretch of the motorway in order to ensure the security of commuters.

The letter stated, “The mandate of the force so deployed shall be restricted to the security of commuters and road users only”.

However, the said deployment shall remain in place as a temporary arrangement till the deployment of National Highways and Motorway Police, it added.

In order for the duties to be given effect as per the standard operating procedures, the PHP “shall be reinforced with SPU” personnel, the memo said.

“The detailed modalities of [the] deployment of PHP and SPU must be conceived and operationalized with immediate effect,” it said, directing the police officers to submit the detailed functional deployment plan by today.

Earlier, a woman aged 30, a resident of Lahore’s Defence Housing Society, was stuck on the motorway with her two children at around 1 am after her car ran out of petrol.

As she tried to arrange for help, two men approached her and took her and her children (under eight) into the nearby fields at gunpoint.

Once in the field, the attackers raped the woman in front of her children. By the time a police party and a relative the woman had called reached the scene, the attackers had fled the scene, taking with them the cash and valuables the victim was carrying with her.

As the probe into the incident initiated, there were reports that the victim had called on the helpline of Motorway Police, but she was denied assistance because the area in question was not covered by the Pakistan National Highway and Motorway Police.

In the first progress report submitted by the Lahore police to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, it was claimed that some 15 suspects were taken into custody during a search operation launched in the vicinities of the crime site.

CM Buzdar also formed a five-member team, with the provincial law minister as the convener, to probe the case.

The rising numbers of rape and sexual assault cases in the country had reignited the debate on the public execution of the proprietors.

Minister for State of Technology Fawad Chaudhry was called out for his silence on the issue and was urged to bring legislation in parliament.

Fawad said the anger and fury of the people were justified under the circumstances but it was not the solution.

He said Pakistan is among the countries with the highest number of death sentences and the highest in terms of the number of people on death row.

“There is no concept of the death penalty in Europe, yet the region has a low crime rate, he added. The minister was of the opinion that there was no correlation between crime and the death penalty.

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