After a YouTuber was assaulted and molested by hundreds of men in Lahore’s Minar-i-Pakistan on the country’s independence day, leaders across Pakistan expressed shock and assured strict action against the culprits.
A video of the incident went viral on social media, sparking outrage across the country. Non-bailable clauses were added to the FIR against 400 people on Wednesday, Azhar Mashwani, the focal person for digital media to the Chief Minister of Punjab, stated.
Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to the Punjab police over the matter, Sayed Z Bukhari, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) representative, confirmed on Twitter. “These are gross violations of laws & social norms, govt won’t spare a single person involved,” Bukhari tweeted, adding that the police will catch all culprits involved in harassing the woman as well as those involved in vandalising the Maharaja Ranjit Singh statue.
PM @ImranKhanPTI personally spoke to IGPunjab, police is catching all culprits involved in manhandling of female tiktoker in Lahore & those damaging statue of Ranjit Singh at LahoreFort.
These are gross violations of laws & social norms, govt won’t spare a single person involved.
— Sayed Z Bukhari (@sayedzbukhari) August 18, 2021
The incident took place on August 14. Viral videos show hundreds of young men throwing the girl in the air for fun, dragging her, tearing her clothes and molesting her at the Greater Iqbal Park. While she hadn’t reported the incident at first, police authorities approached her to file an FIR.
According to the FIR, she and six other members of her YouTube channel visited Azadi Chowk to record a video clip of the Independence Day celebrations. “We were shooting the clip when a good number of youngsters started teasing me. They were joined by more and more,” the girl said. Though she escaped to the park, the suspects followed her and even beat up her team members, she said. Her cell phone, a gold ring and cash worth PKR 15,000 were snatched.
Calling the incident “shameful and heartbreaking,” Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar tweeted that all culprits are being identified through video footage available and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). He has ordered the arrest of all perpetrators.
Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari stated the ministry was in touch with the Punjab authorities and assured strict action against the culprits. “But we need to try and change such violent behavioral patterns in our people,” she tweeted.
‘Deep-rooted malaise in society’
Mazari added that along with the implementation of laws, “mindsets also have to change to stop crime against all vulnerable members of our society.”
We have awareness progs, laws etc. Certainly effective implementation of our laws will have some deterrent effect but mindsets also have to change to stop crimes against all vulnerable mbrs of our society. That is the challenge we are now focusing on along with law implementation
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) August 18, 2021
Senator Dr Afnan Ullah Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) called the incident a “new low for our society.” In a tweet in Urdu, he said, “I urge universities of social sciences to do research into what is going on in the minds of these mentally ill people. So that this thinking can be uprooted.”
Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, stated that the assault on the young woman “speaks to a rot in our society,” and the incident “should shame every Pakistani.” “The women of Pakistan feel insecure and it is all our responsibility to ensure safety and equal rights to all,” he said.
Shebaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly of Pakistan, also pointed to a deep-rooted “malaise” in the society. He referred to recent anti-women incidents in the country, expressing concern over the “direction our society is headed in.”
Deeply disturbed at the harassment of a young woman & her companions by hundreds of people at Greater Iqbal Park in Lahore. What is more worrying is the direction our society is headed in. The recent anti-women incidents are a reminder that malaise is deep-rooted. Very Shameful!
Popular actor Mahira Khan, too, expressed shock over the incident, following it up with a scathing remark against misogynist views which blame the victim. “I keep forgetting – it was Her fault!! Poor 400 men.. they couldn’t help it,” she tweeted.
Damn I’m sorry.. I keep forgetting – it was Her fault!! Poor 400 men.. they couldn’t help it. #MinarePakistan
— Mahira Khan (@TheMahiraKhan) August 17, 2021Subscriber Only Stories
Pakistan’s prime minister had recently faced flak for his comments, where he blamed women for the rising sexual violence in the country. In an interview with Axios’ journalist Jonathan Swan on HBO, Khan had said, “If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots. It’s common sense.”