A Pakistani police chief faced a growing backlash Friday after he seemed to blame the victim in a gang rape case because she was driving at night without a male companion.
The controversy started after a woman said she was assaulted and raped by multiple men in front of her two children when her car ran out of fuel near the eastern city of Lahore late on Wednesday.
Speaking to media, Lahore police chief Umar Sheikh repeatedly chided the victim for driving at night without a man, adding that no one in Pakistani society would “allow their sisters and daughters to travel alone so late”.
Sheikh went on to say the woman — a resident of France — probably “mistook that Pakistani society is just as safe” as her home country.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said his remarks were unacceptable.
“Nothing can ever rationalise the crime of rape,” she added. Protests were held in cities across Pakistan on Friday, and Mr. Sheikh’s comments sparked demands for his resignation.