Pakistan police have arrested 20 members of a village council after they ordered the “revenge rape” of a teenage girl, putting the spotlight on the country’s brutal tribal justice system.
The 17-year-old was raped in the city of Multan in the central province of Punjab on Tuesday, police chief Saleem Khan Niazi said.
The council ordered the rape to punish the victim’s brother for allegedly raping another teenage girl from the same village.
Village councils are considered an alternative to Pakistan’s weak justice system but their decisions based on tribal customs often attract criticism.
Niazi said the head of the council who ordered the revenge rape had been arrested but the main accused person had fled.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif ordered the arrest of the remaining council members and charge them under anti-terrorism laws, his office said in a statement.
The incident has attracted an outcry from rights activists, with prominent lawyer Asma Jahangir calling for a revamp of the criminal justice system to eliminate the role of private councils.