Lahore motorway rape: Punjab Forensic Authority matches possible rapist’s DNA


Fifty-three DNA samples were taken after a woman was raped in front of her children on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway late Wednesday. One of the samples taken from the crime scene has matched with DNA already in the Punjab Forensic Authority’s database.

The woman was raped in front of her children by two unidentified men on the motorway. She was driving to Gujranwala when she ran out of fuel near Lahore’s Gujjarpura. The woman was sitting in her vehicle when two men walked towards her car, broke her window, and made her park on the roadside. They then took her and the children to a nearby forest and raped her.

The men fled after the rape, taking with them three ATM cards, 100,000 in cash and jewellery.

The police have collected 53 DNA samples from residents of nearby villages and sent them to the PFA for testing. They said it would take 10 days for the results but the Authority also ran the DNA samples found at the crime scene through its system and got a match.

The match is of a 25-year-old man who raped a mother and daughter in 2013, according to police sources. He is a resident of Bahawalnagar. He is DNA was at three spots at the crime scene– the victim’s clothes, the smashed car window and inside the car itself.

The Authority has sent his details to the Punjab Police.

The police currently has 15 people in custody. Another 25 suspects who already have records have locked their homes and fled.

CCPO’s controversial remarks

The remarks of Lahore CCPO Umar Sheikh about the woman’s decision to take the motorway with her children have been widely criticised by politicians and activists on social media.

Sheikh appeared on Dunya News after the rape was reported and commented on the survivor’s decision to take the motorway with her children at night.

“The story is that this woman, if it is in your knowledge, left Defence at 12:30am for Gujranwala,” said CCPO Sheikh while talking to the news channel. “First, I am surprised that she, a mother of three children, was the only driver.” She left Defence and should’ve taken GT Road, where there are shops and people nearby. “If you are taking the other way, then at least make sure your vehicle has fuel,” he remarked.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari criticised the Lahore CCPO for “blaming a woman” for being raped. “For an officer to effectively blame a woman for being gang-raped by saying she should have taken the GT Road or question as to why she went out in the night with her children is unacceptable,” said Mazari in a tweet. “Nothing can ever rationalise the crime of rape.”

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, on the other hand, didn’t say anything about the CCPO at all.

In an interview with Kamran Khan for Dunya News, CM Buzdar kept repeating that an “impartial investigation” would be conducted into the matter. Khan repeatedly pressed the CM to comment on the CCPO’s statement and how it was a poor reflection of his government, but Buzdar ignored it and kept repeating that an investigation would be conducted.

Pakistan’s rape laws

Rape is a punishable offence in Pakistan. The definition and punishment for this crime is detailed under Sections 375 and 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

According to the law, a man is said to commit rape when he has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the five following descriptions:

  • Against her will
  • Without her consent
  • With her consent, when the consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt
  • With her consent, when the man knows that he is not married to her and that the consent is given because she believes that the man is another person to whom she is or believes herself to be married; or
  • With or without her consent when she is under 16 years of age.

The convicted rapists will be sentenced to jail for no less than 10 years or more than 25 years, according to the law. A fine will also be imposed on them.