Multan ‘revenge rape’ case
Police arrested on Thursday four more men involved in the rape of a teenage girl as punishment for a rape committed by her brother in the Muzaffarabad district of Multan.
The latest arrests, which include the man who allegedly committed the ‘revenge rape’, brings the total number detained to 18, a police source confirmed.
A jirga (village council) in a suburb of the city had ordered the rape of the 16-year-old girl as a punishment, after her brother sexually assaulted a 12 year-old.
Family member Muhammad Bilal, 25, told media that after they learned of the first rape — which was committed last week — they went to the 12-year-old’s family to seek forgiveness.
“Their women started shouting and their men asked us to first bring Umar’s sister (the 16-year-old) then they will talk about it,” he said.
“But when we came back with the girl, the men and the council decided that the same act would be done to the girl. What could we do, in our village disputes are settled like this.”
Both the girls are now staying in a women’s shelter and were due to meet Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif later Thursday.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday took notice of the rape of a teenage girl in an impoverished southern district of Punjab which reportedly took place on the orders of a panchayat or village council.
The panchayat comprising 20 members, including four women, in Muzaffarabad district of Multan had ordered a man earlier this month to rape a 16-year-old girl in revenge for the earlier rape of his sister. Taking notice of the matter, the CJP issued directives for Punjab Police Inspector General Capt (retd) Arif Nawaz Khan to submit a report into the incident.
According to police sources, 12 members of the panchayat – including the man who presided over the meeting, or Sarpanch – have been arrested so far while a manhunt is underway to arrest the remaining members who fled after the incident.
This is not the first incident of its kind in Punjab. Several similar incidents cases have been reported in the media while most remain unreported due to social stigma associated with such cases.
Panchayats or jirgas are a traditional means of settling disputes in the country’s rural areas, where courts and lawyers are not always accessible or trusted. Such councils do not, however, hold any legal standing.