Pakistani police have arrested 25 members of a village council and ‘village elders’ in Pakistan after they ordered the ‘revenge rape’ of a 16-year-old girl after her brother raped a 12-year-old girl.
The mother of the first victim, who is aged 12, told police her daughter was cutting grass in a field when she was raped by a man.
The 12-year-old reported the rape to her mother, who then complained to village elders.
After deliberating, the elders declared one of the sisters of the first attacker would be raped in retaliation for the crime, according to the police report.
“Both elder sisters were initially called, but the elders decided that the 17-year-old would be the one to take the punishment,” the police report said.
“Her mothers and sisters all protested this but the elders brought out their guns and threatened to kill them.”
She was dragged to the meeting in Rajpur and the horrific retaliation was carried out in front of her parents and the 40 men on the council.
Village councils formed of local elders, are a traditional means of settling disputes in Pakistan’s rural areas, where courts and lawyers are not always accessible or trusted.
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.
Family member Muhammad Bilal, 25, said 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 as Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered an investigation into the incident.