Pakistan PM orders re-arrest of alleged rapists

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has ordered the re-arrest of four men involved in a high-profile gang-rape case, their alleged victim said yesterday after making appeals to political leaders. 

The four were freed from jail on Tuesday despite a decision by the country's top court to reconsider their acquittal on charges of assaulting 33-year-old Mukhtiar Mai. 

“The prime minister has ordered the re-arrest of those who were set free,” she said after meeting Aziz here. 

Interior ministry officials said they had not yet received any orders from the prime minister's office. 

Six men were sentenced to death in August 2002 for the assault on Mai, which was carried out on the orders of a tribal council. But five of them were acquitted on appeal to Lahore High Court earlier this month. 

The decision shocked the country and sparked international outrage. The Supreme Court has suspended the acquittal pending a new hearing. 

Mai was raped for more than an hour at Meerwala in Punjab province in June 2002 as punishment for her brother's alleged affair with a woman of a powerful rival clan. 

She appealed to President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday to have the men sent back to prison. 

The men have returned to Meerwala while the Supreme Court waits to fix the date for the hearing. – AFP  

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