MULTAN: 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 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) 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.
The Supreme Court has also ordered an investigation into the incident.
Jirgas, or village councils formed of local elders, are a traditional means of settling disputes in the rural areas, where courts and lawyers are not always accessible.
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. We seek pardon and we promise not to do it again,” said Mohammad Amin, 45, a member of the jirga who is now in police custody.
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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