The village council asked a man to rape a 16-year-old girl in front of her family as punishment after her brother was accused of raping the man’s sister in Pakistan’s Punjab province, police said on Wednesday.
Police have arrested 20 people after the incident that took place on July 18 in Rajpur village in Muzaffarabad in the province, Multan division police chief Ahsan Younis said.
“We have arrested 20 people including the head of the village council for ordering rape of the sister of Umer Wadda of Rajpur village,” Younis told PTI.
He said Wadda was accused of raping the teenage sister of Ashfaq of his locality on July 16.
“The matter was brought to the village council that unanimously ordered the rape of Wadda’s sister by Ashfaq. The Wadda’s family protested over the decision but it was told that justice could only be done if the same act was repeated with the accused’s sister,” he said.
Younis said the police sprang into action when the girl’s family reported the matter two days ago.
“The victim’s family did not report the matter until Monday. We have registered separate FIRs against Ashfaq and over 30 village council members, and Wadda,” he said, adding that the police was investigating all aspects of the case.
“We are also investigating whether the sister of Wadda was raped in front of her parents and the brother (which is the claim of the Wadda family),” he said.
He added that the station house officer of Muzafarabad police had become a complainant in the case so that both parties cannot reach a compromise and withdraw the FIRs against each other.
It is the same district where in early 2000, Mukhtaran Mai was raped on the order of the village council, triggering an international outrage.
Rights activist and former Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jehangir said a number of such cases are not reported.
“It is unfortunate that the victims do not approach the police to redress the grievances,” she said, adding there is a need to create awareness among the people especially of rural areas in this regard.
(Feature image source: Reuters)