CJP takes suo motu notice of Multan panchayat rape incident
MULTAN: Directing the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) to submit a report with regard to Multan Panchayat (village council) rape case, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has taken suo motu notice of the incident, ARY News reported on Thursday.
Insisting on the rape of 16-year-old girl as punishment against rape allegedly committed by her brother, the council of elders in Multan’s Muzaffarabad locality deemed it as justice to another rape-victim.
According to police, a man – whose identification not disclosed – approached the council and complained that his 12-year-old sister had been raped by his cousin.
“The panchayat 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.
Meanwhile, police claimed to have arrested all main accused in the case. Fourteen members of a village council have been arrested for ordering the rape of a teenage girl as punishment for a rape offence committed by her brother.
The incident occurred earlier this month in the neighbourhood of Raja Ram in Muzaffarabad, a suburb of the central city of Multan, investigators told media.
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 Thaheem, the police officer heading the investigation.
“Both the parties had filed cases of rape against each other at the local police station after the incident that happened last week,” Thaheem further 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.
A panchayat was involved in one of South Asia’s most infamous case of sexual violence against a woman when, in 2002, it ordered the gang rape of a woman called Mukhtar Mai after her brother was falsely accused of rape.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif also took notice of the incident and sought a report from the Multan city police officer (CPO).
It is worth mentioning here that Panchayats are formed of local elders and are a traditional mean of settling disputes in Pakistan’s rural areas where courts and lawyers are either inaccessible or not trusted.