All 29 suspects in panchayat-ordered rape case arrested: police inform SC

All 29 suspects nominated for their involvement in the panchayat-ordered ‘revenge rape’ of a teenage girl in Muzaffarabad area of Multan district last month have been arrested, read the police report submitted before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

According to the progress report submitted by Multan city police officer (CPO), the main accused in the case — who raped 16-year-old N* as “punishment” for a rape her brother had committed days earlier — has also been arrested.

The man who is accused of raping the 12-year-old F*, sister of the main suspect, was arrested last month.

Examine: Where is justice when a panchayat orders rape?

Three first information reports (FIRs) of the incidents were registered: two on the complaints of the two victims’ families against each other, and the third against the illegal panchayat members in which the police/state were the complainant.

Police has taken swabs of both victims and both alleged rapists, and will submit challans in a court of law within seven days after completion of the investigation, the CPO said.

According to the police report, the ‘revenge’ rape had taken place due to a compromise between the families of the two rapists — both belong to the Bhullar community.

Stating the facts of the case, it said that on July 16, a man raped F, the daughter of Haq Nawaz. When a furious Haq Nawaz and his relatives went to the alleged rapist’s house to demand revenge, it was decided that the suspect’s sister, N, would be handed over to F’s brother to be raped as a punishment.

Subsequently, a meeting of the Bhullar bradari was held at Haq Nawaz’s house which was attended by a number of people. In the meantime, the mother of N arrived at the meeting and offered her daughter in marriage but Haq Nawaz refused and asked his son to take N in a room and rape her.

Haq Nawaz’s wife then “forcibly dragged” N into a room and locked the door, after which her son raped the teenage girl.

Last week, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of the case, while Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took punitive action against the police over a “criminal delay” on their part in proceeding with the case.

The Multan city police officer was made an OSD (officer on special duty) and the entire staff of the Muzaffarabad police station was suspended.

*Names have not been disclosed to protect privacy.

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