Pakistani woman alleges she was raped, ‘panchayat’ sentences her to death

The woman alleged that her cousin raped her at gunpoint when she was sleeping at her house. She said the panchayat did not take action against the accused and instead sentenced her to death.
A file photo of woman clad in burqa walking in the hallway of the tomb of Sufi saint in Pakistan.(REUTERS/ Representative image)
A file photo of woman clad in burqa walking in the hallway of the tomb of Sufi saint in Pakistan.(REUTERS/ Representative image)
Updated on May 28, 2017 10:21 PM IST
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PTI, Lahore | ByPress Trust of India

A 19-year-old woman has been sentenced to death by village elders in Pakistan’s Punjab province for allegedly having an illicit relationship with her cousin after she accused him of raping her at gunpoint.

The incident happened on Friday in Rajanpur, a rural district about 400 kilometres from provincial capital Lahore.

Shumaila escaped from the village after she came to know of the panchayat’s decision and reported the matter to police.

The woman has denied having any illicit relationship with her cousin Khalil Ahmed and alleged that he raped her at gunpoint when she was sleeping at her house.

“I could not raise an alarm as Ahmed was holding a gun. But the panchayat refused to accept my statement and declared that I wilfully slept with him,” she told the police.

She said the panchayat did not take action against Ahmed.

Fearing for her life, she approached the police on Saturday.

“We have registered an FIR against the panchayat members and will take them into custody for declaring her kaari (liable to death either by stoning or else),” Hasnain said.

The SHO of Fazilpur Police Station, Qaisar Hasnain, said Shumaila’s father said in a statement that he was forced to accept the panchayat’s decision.

“Since the panchayat declared her liabale to be killed he had to accept the decision as it was the tradition of his village,” he said.

The police has sent Shumaila to a government safe house for women in Rajanpur.

“Honour” killings and death sentences are usually sanctioned through the panchayat system in Pakistani villages, but they have no legal standing.

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