A woman was allegedly paraded naked in the streets of Neelor Bala village on the instigation of a jirga that found her son guilty of rape.
Four armed men, who belonged to the same village as that of the ‘raped’ woman, allegedly disrobed the middle-aged woman before making her parade naked.
Police has confirmed the report and arrested three members of the jirga.
“Sadia* had become pregnant while her husband Shabbir* was away in Lahore. Upon returning, he enquired from her about the pregnancy and she accused Karim*, son of Shaheen*, and his friend Arshad* of having raped her,” Shaheen’s younger brother Muhammad Asif* told The Express Tribune.
On June 8, Shabbir took the matter to the village jirga, headed by Basheer Abbasi and Raqeeb. The jirga decided that Sadia be immediately divorced, and Karim and Arshad be punished for their crime.
Shabbir then took his wife to Haripur district court and forced her to file for divorce. When Shabbir returned home, he along with his three brothers Arsalan, Imran and Manzoor, reached Karim’s house and dragged his mother Shaheen on to the streets. They also beat the woman with rifle butts and then went to Arshad’s house and torched it.
Shaheen has left for Lahore, where her husband serves in a Pakistan Army unit.
Police sources said the matter was later brought to the notice of local police by some rights activists and they had registered a case against jirga members on a complaint by Shaheen’s father-in-law Khan*.
Meanwhile, local civil society organisations condemned the incident and offered the victims legal and moral support.
This is not an isolated incident. In January 2011, another woman, a resident of Basti Wah Deen village in Vehari, was gang-raped and stripped naked by landlords for refusing a marriage proposal.
*All names have been changed to protect identities
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2011.