Pak­istan po­lice ar­rests vil­lage el­ders for or­der­ing rape

Muscat Daily - - BREAK -

Mul­tan, Pak­istan - Four­teen mem­bers of a Pak­istani vil­lage coun­cil have been ar­rested for or­der­ing the rape of a teenage girl as pun­ish­ment for a rape com­mit­ted by her brother, po­lice said on Wed­nes­day.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred ear­lier this month in the neigh­bour­hood of Raja Ram in Muzaf­farabad, a sub­urb of the cen­tral city of Mul­tan, in­ves­ti­ga­tors told AFP.

“A jirga (vil­lage coun­cil) had or­dered the rape of a 16 year old girl as pun­ish­ment, as her brother had raped a 12 year old,” said Al­lah Baksh, a lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cial. He said the vil­lage coun­cil was ap­proached by a man who com­plained that his 12 year old sis­ter had been raped by their cousin. The coun­cil then or­dered the com­plainant to rape the sis­ter of the ac­cused in re­turn, Baksh said - an or­der which was duly car­ried out.

The al­le­ga­tions were con­firmed by Rashid Ta­heem, the po­lice of­fi­cer head­ing the inves- tiga­tion. “Both the par­ties had filed cases of rape against each other at the lo­cal po­lice sta­tion af­ter the in­ci­dent that hap­pened last week,” he said.

“We have ar­rested 14 peo­ple of the vil­lage coun­cil so far,” he said, adding that the ‘main ac­cused’ - the man who raped the 12 year old - was still at large.

Jir­gas, or 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.

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

A jirga was in­volved in one of South Asia’s most in­fa­mous cases of sex­ual vi­o­lence against women when, in 2002, it or­dered the gang rape of a woman called Mukhtar Mai af­ter her brother was falsely ac­cused of rape.

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