Pakistan detains 12 after gang rape of woman on highway

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (AP) — Pakistani police yesterday detained 12 people for questioning after two armed men allegedly gang raped a mother in front of her children after her car went out on a deserted highway, police said.

The arrests were made following the overnight incident near the eastern city of Lahore in which the men also stole cash and jewellery from the woman before fleeing. None of the 12 was thought to be an assailant, police said.

The attack quickly drew widespread condemnation on social media with some activists demanding those involved be hanged in public. Musarrat Cheema, a spokesperson in the eastern Punjab province, said raids were being conducted to trace and arrest the culprits.

Gang rape is rare in Pakistan, although sexual harassment and violence against women is not uncommon. Nearly 1,000 women are killed in Pakistan each year in so-called “honour killings” for allegedly violating conservative norms on love and marriage.