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The Cancer of Tribalism

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    The Cancer of Tribalism

    The Cancer of Tribalism

    The tribal council did not believe the 11-year-old boy had done no wrong when he walked unchaperoned with a girl from a different tribe.

    But the council in Meerwala, Pakistan, did not punish the boy. Instead, they ordered his 18-year-old sister to be gang raped to bring shame on the family. And they decided four council members should do it.

    She was taken to a mud hut and they took turns, as hundreds of people stood outside laughing and cheering. ``I touched their feet. I wept. I cried,'' she said. ``I said I taught the holy Koran to children in the village, therefore don't punish me for a crime which was not committed by me. But they tore my clothes and raped me one by one.'' As she spoke, her mother Allah Bachai wailed as she sat beside her at their home in the village in southern Punjab province.

    Senior police and provincial government officials visited Meerwala yesterday to investigate. Asef Hayyat, Punjab's deputy inspector general of police, said the top officer at the local police station had been suspended and several close relatives of the suspects were detained to pressure the perpetrators into surrendering. ``We will soon arrest the real culprits,'' Hayyat said.

    Pakistan has a tradition of tribal justice in which crimes or affronts to dignity are punished outside the framework of Pakistani law.

    The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has demanded an end to punishments by tribal councils. The gang rape has outraged rights groups, who say the number of atrocities against women in Pakistan is increasing. And Pakistan's Supreme Court yesterday directed top Punjab police and government officials to attend a special hearing on the case tomorrow.

    Chief Justice Sheikh Riaz Ahmad described the case as a violation of human rights. Rana Ijaz, the Punjab government's law minister, was among the officials who visited the village, and promised a full investigation and assistance to the victim's family.

    ``This is a very sad and shocking incident,'' Ijaz said. Villagers told him the rape was the second in the region recently. A week earlier, a girl in a nearby village committed suicide after being raped by two tribesmen, villagers said.

    Local police said yesterday that two men were arrested in that case. In the more recent rape, on June 22, the Mastoi tribe demanded punishment after the teenager's brother was seen walking unchaperoned with a Mastoi girl in a deserted part of the village.

    The brother and sister are from the Gujar tribe, which is considered lower class. The Mastoi tribe called a meeting of the tribal council. The teenager's father, Ghulam Farid, 54, said he pleaded for clemency with the council, telling them the Mastoi girl was safe with his son because he was too young to have sex. ``I told the tribal jury that my son is ready to marry the girl if they think she had been molested,'' Farid said. ``But Mastoi tribesmen rejected this proposal saying how could they give their daughter to me, a low caste tribal.'' ``I begged them ... my daughter is a very pious girl,'' he said. ``I reminded them, `She has been teaching holy Koran to your children, you are fully aware of her character,''' Farid said.

    But the Mastoi girl's father rejected the pleas and demanded the gang rape as punishment, Farid said. Among the men on the tribal council was Mohammed Ramzan, the Mastoi girl's uncle, he said. ``Nobody supported me. There was no one to protect my daughter,'' Farid said.

    Source: AP

    ليس منا من دعا إلى عصبية

    “He is not from us the one who calls for tribalism,”

    ما بال دعوى الجاهلية، دعوها فإنها منتنة

    “What is this da’wah of jaahiliyyah! Leave it for it is rotten.”