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Punjab rape-case police suspended

Four senior policemen in the Pakistani province of Punjab have been suspended and one transferred over failures in a rape case involving five young girls.

Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi ordered the suspensions and said that proceedings should be started to dismiss the officers.   Mr Elahi said police should have taken action quicker to stop the rapes in the town of Tehsil Gojra, west of Lahore.   No-one has been charged with the rapes but one suspect is in custody.

However, two of the rapes occurred after the detention of Liaqat Ali, who police said had confessed to kidnapping two girls from their school and raping them. The girls are aged between five and seven.   The first attack happened in October in Tehsil Gojra, 150km west of Lahore.

A local police officer told the Associated Press agency the girls were still in hospital being treated for injuries.   Mr Elahi has ordered an investigation into why no arrests were made for the later attacks.   He suspended the senior officers for what he said was negligence and dereliction of duty.   The minister also visited the families of the victims.

Rape is not uncommon in Pakistan, particularly in rural areas, but observers say the country has been shocked that girls as young as five have been abused.   Rights activists often complain that authorities do not do enough to bring sex attackers to justice.   The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says incidents of harassment and molestation are being reported at workplaces, public venues and universities from all over the country.

Its figures show that this year between January and August, 175 women, including 24 minors, were gang raped and 225 were raped, of which 38 were minors.

Source: BBC NEWS


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