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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
Anti-terror court to try gang rapists
The Law Minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, Rana Ijaz Ahmad Khan, says those responsible for gang-raping a young girl in Muzaffargarh district will be tried in an anti-terrorism court.

Mr Khan told the BBC's Shahid Malik in Lahore that the provincial Governor, Khalid Maqbool, had asked him to visit the victim's family and submit a report on the case within 24 hours.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Maqbool had suspended several police officials for their negligence in investigating the incident of gang rape.

The gang rape took place 10 days ago in the district's Meerwala village, more than 100 km from the southern city of Multan.

Earlier, eight men were arrested in connection with the case following reports that a teenage girl had been gang raped on the orders of the village tribal council.

Tribal influence

Newspaper reports said the girl had been raped and later, sent home naked.

This was said to be 'punishment' meted out by the local "panchayat", or tribal council, for her brother's alleged illicit affair with a woman of higher social standing.

The members of the tribal council belonged to the area's influential landed clan.

Police in the district then arrested members of the self-styled tribal council, but the four accused rapists are still absconding.

Muzaffargarh, which is under the administrative jurisdiction of the Punjab government, is one of the province's areas where semi-tribal customs still prevail.

Correspondents say the power and influence of land-owning clans here have led to similar incidents in the past.

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27 Apr 01 | South Asia
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