The Lahore High Court (LHC) Monday said that the Punjab government should apologise to the nation for the misogynistic remarks made by Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umer Sheikh about the victim of the motorway gang-rape incident, a private TV channel reported. Hearing a petition calling for the formation of a judicial inquiry commission to investigate the incident, LHC Chief Justice Qasim Khan remarked that an impression has been created that the women of the country are not safe on the roads. The court directed that the culprits be apprehended immediately and directed the Lahore police chief to submit a report in this regard by Wednesday. The hearing was adjourned for September 16. Earlier, the court had summoned Sheikh to present a report regarding headway made in the motorway gang-rape case. Shortly before appearing in court, the Lahore police chief apologised to the motorway gang-rape victim for his earlier remarks implying that she shared responsibility for her rape. “I did not mean anything wrong or [to give a wrong] perception and if any misunderstanding was caused because of me, then I apologise from the depths of my heart to my sister who was abused and to all sections of society who were saddened or angered,” he said while speaking to journalists.During the hearing, the Punjab government’s lawyer presented the notification under which an inquiry committee, headed by the provincial law minister, was constituted to probe the case. “We can’t play committee-committee,” the chief justice remarked, asking the lawyer who exactly was part of the inquiry panel. “The provincial law minister, the additional chief secretary home and other officials are part of the committee,” the government’s lawyer replied. The LHC CJ also inquired about the show-cause notice issued to the CCPO. “The officer was issued a show-cause notice by the Punjab IG for the controversial remarks he made about the victim in the motorway gang-rape case,” the government’s lawyer replied, adding that provincial police officer had also sought a reply within seven days.“If [Sheikh] does not give a satisfactory and detailed reply, a reference will be filed against him,” he added. Responding to this, the judge remarked that the notice doesn’t mention the rules under which action can be taken against the CCPO. Appearing before the court, CCPO Sheikh said that police arrived at the scene ‘within 20 minutes’. However, Justice Qasim Khan noted that after contacting the motorway helpline, the victim was told to contact the highway authorities. “The highway authorities then told her to contact the police,” he said.The CCPO replied that, unfortunately, security arrangements along the motorway were not up to par. When asked when the motorway was opened, Sheikh replied that the motorway became functional two months ago and no security arrangements had been made thus far. “If there is no security along the highway, then this incident was bound to happen,” the judge remarked. The CCPO replied that his authority extends up until Ring Road. However, he admitted that there could have been ‘better coordination’ between the departments. He added that once the police were involved, he launched a ‘scientific investigation’ into the matter.“What did Dolphin Force officials see [at the scene]?” asked the judge. “When the Dolphin Force arrived, they opened fire into the air, upon which the victim cried out for help. Officials then found the victim and her children in a ditch and informed the high command,” the CCPO replied.Commenting on his earlier misogynistic remarks implying that the victim shared responsibility for her rape, Sheikh apologised once again. “If my statement offended the victim, then I apologise.”Stating that the Punjab government should apologise to the entire nation for the comments the official made, the judge remarked that Sheikh should have weighed his choice of words. “It is the government’s responsibility to provide protection to the people. A young girl left for the motorway thinking she was safe. You have no idea the kind of agony the victim and her children will endure for the rest of their lives,” Justice Qasim Khan remarked.