Crime & Justice

Arrests made in Pakistan 'revenge rape' case



A Pakistani man points to a house where a 16-year-old girl was raped in Muzaffarabad, a suburb of Multan, July 26. Members of the local jirga have been arrested for allegedly ordering the girl's rape as punishment for a sexual assault committed by her brother, police said. [SS Mirza/AFP]

MULTAN -- Pakistani police Thursday (July 27) arrested four men accused of involvement in the rape of a teenage girl as punishment for a crime committed by her brother.

The latest arrests, which include the man who allegedly committed the "revenge rape", bring the total number detained to 18, a police source confirmed.

A jirga in a suburb of Multan, Punjab Province, allegedly ordered the rape of the 16-year-old girl as punishment after her brother sexually assaulted a 12-year-old.

Family member Muhammad Bilal, 25, told AFP 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 girl], then they would 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," he said. "What could we do? In our village disputes are settled like this."

Both girls are now staying in a women's shelter and were due to meet Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, brother of the prime minister, later Thursday.

Pakistan's Supreme Court has also ordered an investigation.

Jirgas, village councils formed of local elders, are a traditional means of settling disputes in Pakistan's rural areas, where courts and lawyers are not always accessible or trusted.

Such councils are illegal and have been under fire for their controversial decisions, especially regarding women.

"What we did was wrong, but this is the way things are done here," said Mohammad Amin, 45, a member of the jirga who is now in police custody. "We seek pardon, and we promise not to do it again."

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If government of Pakistan or the Judges would have a little bit of honour, they would have cut such pharos decision makers into pieces and have had thrown them before dogs. I plea before government of Pakistan and judges to eliminate such dirty and vulgar people from Pakistan.