Senate panel asks if CCPO ‘descended from sky’

Irked by policeman’s absence, parliamentary committee issues his summons


Waqas Ahmed September 16, 2020
Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Shaikh. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD:

Irked by his unnotified absence, the chairman of a parliamentary committee on Wednesday asked if newly appointed Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Shaikh has “descended from the sky”.

The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights on September 11 took notice of motorway gang-rape incident and summoned the CCPO to clarify his controversial comments about the victim.

On last Wednesday, a mother was sexually assaulted in front of her children at Lahore-Sialkot motorway when her car ran out of fuel. The incident had shocked the entire nation and triggered outrage.

After the horrible incident, Lahore CCPO Umar Sheikh invited criticism when he said the victim had failed to take due precautions before embarking on her motorway trip.

Sheikh had claimed the woman could have avoided the incident if she had taken the more populated GT Road instead of going via motorway, and if she had checked the fuel before setting off.

This statement had drawn the ire of the general public as well as authorities and the Lahore High Court (LHC), the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice as well as the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights summoned the CCPO.

Umar Shaikh, however, did not show up before the Senate panel on Wednesday.

Expressing anger over his absence, the committee chairman, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, asked as to whether the CCPO was above the law and accountability.

"Has the CCPO descended from the sky?" Khokhar asked. "Other top officials are present [in the committee meeting] but the CCPO has not shown up. This absence of the CCPO is unacceptable."

The committee decided to submit a privilege motion against the CCPO and issued summons to ensure the officer's presence at its next hearing. Some other committee members also demanded that the PTI led Punjab government must remove the official.

The committee also decided to form a three-member sub-committee comprising Senator Ayesha-Raza Farooq, Quratulain Marri and Senator Karishna Kumari to probe into the negligence of various officials and departments that resulted in the tragedy.

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