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Revenge rape ordered by Pakistani village council

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Image of Mukhtar Mai who bravely fought for justice after a similar panchayat decision in 2002 ordered her gang rape.

A police search operation is underway to arrest the members of a panchayat (village council) who fled after ordering a man to rape a 16-year-old girl in Multan, Pakistan.

At least 20 Muslim men from Multan, Pakistan, have already been arrested for ordering the rape of a teenage girl, in revenge for a rape her brother had allegedly committed.

The two families involved in the incident were related and senior members from both families comprised the village council that decided the 16 year old girl should be raped.

According to Station House Officer (SHO) Malik Rashid, the search operation began after two cases were registered against the members of the council at a police station inside the Violence Against Women centre in Multan. 
Later police official Allah Baksh, at a press conference, said: 

"A panchayat had ordered the rape of a 16-year-old girl as punishment, as her brother had raped a 12-year-old," 

Apparently,After the incident, the parents of the 16 year old registered a First Incident Report (FIR) on July 20th 2017, while a second FIR was filed on July 24th by the 12 year old's family, who had initially accepted the panchayat's decision and had wanted no further action.  

Allah Baksh had said the village council was approached earlier this month by the brother of the 12-year-old who described an incident involving the rape of his sister by a cousin.

The council deliberated and then ordered the complainant to rape the sister of the accused in return.  in a sickening twist of events the innocent 16 year old girl was then publicly forced to appear before the village council and was raped by the brother of the 12 year old, while the council and the parents of both children watched.

Although it is not clear whether the parents of either child supported the decision or if the parents of the 16 year old were forced to watch the brutal public rape of their daughter, the fact that the mother of the 16 year old immediately contacted the police and registered an FIR after the incident suggests it was extremely traumatic for her - as it quite rightly should have been for all of them.

The mother of the 12 year old is said to be the complainant for the corresponding rape allegation submitted to police later.  Which may suggest that the two fathers were complicit if not accepting of the panchayat's decison which leaves agar a serious concern about the value of women in Pakistan's patriarchal society. 

Medical examinations undertaken by the police have both confirmed rape of the innocent girls involved in this horrifying report.

A total of 25 people were accused of being involved in both cases and already 20 have been arrested.  The suspect accused of raping the 12-year-old is still at large an a huge manhunt is in operation across Pakistan.

Panchayats are a council formed from senior elders within a local community.  They are often the first point of contact for people wishing to settle problems in rural Pakistan but can also be found in towns and cities especially in deprived areas.

Panchayats are totally illegal and have been outlawed under the 'Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Bill-2016' which is soon to be adopted as law after having being ratified in February this year (click here).  Panchayats also known as jirgas  have been condemned for a series of controversial rulings - including ordering so-called "honour killings" and past incidents of "revenge rape".

A panchayat ordered the gang rape of Mukhtar Mai (28 yrs) in 2002, after her 12-year-old brother was accused of an affair with an older married woman.  Ms Mai bravely fought for justice for nine years through the twisted legal system of Pakistan despite the stigma attached to rape in Paksitan.  However only one of the 14 men identified for raping her were charged after a nine year battle highlighting how flawed Pakistan's judicial process is (click here)

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:

"This example of the warped minds of Pakistani Muslim men will be forgotten and the culture of rape fuelled by sexual repression will continue unabated in a nation that is extremely patriarchal. 

"Women have no value in Pakistan, even less so if you are a Christian.  Stories such as that of Saiba a three year old child subjected to rape at such a tender age that the brutality has now left her incapable of conceiving a child, remind us that minority women or rural women are easy targets for the growing number of sexually deviant Muslim men in Pakistan."

Saiba's story can be read here (click here)

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