18 September 2020
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PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has apologised for insensitive remarks he made while discussing the Lahore motorway rape in Parliament.

During a National Assembly session on September 15, the leader of the opposition made a speech about the motorway rape.

A woman was raped in front of her children by two unidentified men on the motorway on September 9. She was driving to Gujranwala when she ran out of fuel near Lahore’s Gujjarpura area.

“I ask you to initiate an inquiry into this issue,” Shehbaz addressed National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser. “That when on a motorway, the Sialkot motorway and I do not think it is not inappropriate to say that this motorway was made Alhamdulillah, by the PML-N under Nawaz Sharif’s leadership…” he said to thumps of approval from PML-N leaders.

Dear @Maria_Memon Please don’t misinterpret and watch complete clip. Journalism values also say the same that scrutinized before sharing anything. https://t.co/N2nx0Hl4H7 pic.twitter.com/3sRBfvsOdv— PMLN Punjab (@PMLNPunjabPk) September 14, 2020

Shehbaz went on to speak about “projects made for people’s welfare” that could be completely credited to Nawaz Sharif.

His comments sparked outrage both online and offline, and led to hundreds of people calling him out on social media. Twitter was particularly unforgiving.

Soon after, Shehbaz posted an apology via his official account.

Couldn’t properly contextualize my comment during NA speech & it came across as insensitive. I didn’t mean it that way & am sincerely sorry for it. I’m devastated like all of u on this unfortunate incident. Hope Govt now provides security on Sialkot motorway 4 safety of citizens!— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) September 15, 2020

He apologised for not being able to “properly contextualize [his] comment”. “I’m devastated like all of you on this unfortunate incident. Hope the government now provides security on the Sialkot motorway for the safety of citizens,” he wrote.

During Tuesday’s assembly session, Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said the rape did not occur on the motorway. He did not, however, specify where the rape took place.

The rape survivor had reportedly made a call to the motorway police after she ran out of fuel near Gujjarpura. But the motorway police declined to help her, saying that section didn’t fall under their jurisdiction.

Saeed said he heard the call himself and the motorway police didn’t hang up on the survivor.

“Speaker
sahib, I myself heard the call,” the minister said. “A call was made to
130 and he doesn’t say it is not their jurisdiction.”

One of the suspected rapists, Shafqat Ali, has been identified and he has confessed to his crime, according to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. The police were carrying out raids to arrest another suspect, Abid Ali, the chief minister said in a tweet.

Abdul Gh Lone

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