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Pakistan 'Gang Rape': Arrest Over Hanged Woman
The boyfriend of a woman found hanging from a tree after she was allegedly gang raped has been arrested in Pakistan.
The violent death of Muzammil Bibi, 20, bears a chilling resemblance to a spate of sex crimes that sparked outrage and protests in neighbouring India.
Police in Punjab province said the woman's boyfriend of six months, named by police as Muhammad Saqib, was taken into custody after he confessed to the rape and murder.
Saqib admitted he tried to force the victim to have sex with two of his friends at a wholesale vegetable shop where he worked but she refused, according to police.
She was then allegedly raped and killed. Police said Saqib had confessed to the attack, adding that they were still investigating if the woman had been raped by the other men as well.
Police are still looking for the two alleged accomplices.
"The incident occurred in Layyah district (in Punjab province) on Thursday night and was reported to the police on Friday when the local people saw a woman hanging from a tree," senior police official Ghazi Salahudin told AFP.
He said the woman was raped and strangled, and then her body was hanged to make it look like a suicide.
The woman was the eldest of eight siblings - the children of blind parents - and made a living by farming a small piece of land.
The incident echoes an attack in India last month, in which two teenage girls were found gang-raped and hanged from a mango tree in Uttar Pradesh state.
That attack sparked protests over police apathy, and was the latest to highlight India's dismal record on preventing sexual violence.
There was further outrage when a lawmaker from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party described rape as a "social crime", saying "sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong".
Though the issues of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are not as high-profile in Pakistan as they have been in India in recent years, they are widespread in the deeply conservative country.
In March a 17-year-old Pakistani gang rape victim, Amina Bibi, died after setting herself on fire in protest at a police decision to set a key suspect free.