The Pakistani police arrested 25 members of a village panchayat for allegedly ordering the rape of a teenage girl, Reuters reported on Thursday. The village council had allegedly ordered her rape as revenge for her brother’s alleged sexual assault of another girl.
The incident took place in Punjab province’s Multan. A man had claimed that his 12-year-old sister was raped by a man in a field on July 16. According to a report in Geo News, the accused was the girl’s cousin.
The panchayat was convened on July 18 where the council ruled that the brother of the girl should rape the accused’s 16-year-old sister, the news agency quoted the First Information Report. “Both the parties had filed cases of rape against each other at the local police station after the incident that happened last week,” another police official, Rashid Taheem, said, according to The Guardian.
“All the village council elders who ordered the revenge rape have been arrested,” Ahsan Younus, Multan city police officer, told Reuters. Both minor girls along with their mothers have been sent to women’s protection centre, he added.
The head of the panchayat was among those arrested, and a search for other men involved in the case is on, Dawn reported.
Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif assured the families of justice. “Those responsible [for the crime] will not be spared in any circumstance,” he said, according to Geo News.
In another case of “revenge rape”, in 2002, a village panchayat had ordered the gang-rape of a woman for a male relative’s crime. She had filed criminal charges against six men who were convicted and subsequently sentenced to death. However, five of them were later freed.