PAKISTAN - CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS NOT PLEASED WITH VERDICT
OF SUPREME COURT IN MUKHTARA MAI GANG RAPE CASE
A Statement from National Commission on the Status of Women forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission
April 21, 2011 - The National Commission on the Status of Women, an official
organisation, and members of Insani Huqooq Ittehad, including PODA, Mehergargh,
Aurat Foundation, Rozan, Sungi, Bedari, Ethno Media, Pattan and SPO convened an
emergency meeting to express deep shock and disappointment at the verdict given
by the superior court in the Mukhtara Mai gang rape case today. Although the
judgment did prove that Mukhtara was raped because one accused did get life
imprisonment, while others were acquitted. We are surprised to see why only one
accused was punished and others were acquitted on a charge of 'gang rape'.
The Commission and members of civil society felt that this was the reflection of a biased and inefficient criminal justice system. This case has been a classic example of how the facts were distorted and documentation of the evidence was tampered with at all levels.
The group expressed concern at the long delays to dispense justice. The
victim was raped in 2002 on the instructions of the local Panchayat. In 2005
the chief justice of the superior court took suo moto notice of the case.
Despite the intervention it took more than nine years to come up with this
decision, which is a source of concern for the women of Pakistan. It is feared
that this decision might further strengthen the anti women parallel legal and
judicial systems and mechanisms in the country. We feel that the criminal
justice system too is not pro women and is patriarchal in nature. Impunity is
the order of the day.
In cases of complaints women victims are burdened to provide series of evidences which is not possible for them. It is the responsibility of the police to do the investigation and come up with the requisite evidence. Currently, methods of recording evidence by police are biased against women; and that is one reason that they do not get justice from the courts.
There is also a need to look at the women’s representation in all those systems and mechanism dealing with matters of crimes and justice. Women’s lack of proportionate representation in lower and upper judiciary is paving the way for verdicts against women victims. There is dire need to start a rational discourse on the lack of women’s representation within the courts.
Today’s judgment has shaken the confidence and sense of security of women of Pakistan to stand up for their rights. It reflects a faulty investigation of the police and the loop holes that are left intentionally to side with the power brokers. The outcome of Mukhtara case discourages survivors of rape and gang rape to report. However, we are proud of Mukhtara Mai, who stood bravely against all intimidation and harassment and has refused to buckle under life threats. She has given a message of courage and hope to all women victims of our country. We consider her a role model for women of Pakistan.
At the end we also condemn the insensitive and pathetic attitude of some sections of media, who were grinning at the verdict and clapped after they recorded the responses on the judgment. The owners and editors of these media houses are urged to inculcate responsible and sensitive attitude in the practices of such chauvinistic reporters.
Tahira Noor, National Commission on the Status of Women-Pakistan,Government of Pakistan, firstname.lastname@example.org
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From: WUNRN ListServe
To: WUNRN ListServe
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 1:04 PM
Subject: Pakistan - Mukhtar Mai Rape Case Update + Women's Support Photos
Women Living Under Muslim Laws
PAKISTAN - UPDATE ON GANG RAPE CASE OF MUKHTAR MAI
In 2002, 14 men from the dominant Mastoi tribe in Meeranwalla, Pakistan volunteered to rape Ms Mukhtar Mai as a way to settle a score after her 12-year-old brother Abdul Shakoor was seen walking with a Mastoi girl. The decision on retribution had been taken by a village court to preserve tribal honour. The jirga, or council of village elders, summoned Ms Mai to apologise for her brother's sexual misdeed. When she apologised, they gang-raped her anyway.
After the atrocity was carried out, Ms Mai was paraded naked before hundreds of onlookers. Finally, her father covered her with a shawl and took her home. ..........................................................................................................................
UPDATE ON CASE OF MUKHTAR MAI
PAKISTAN: SUPREME COURT ADJOURNS HEARING OF CASE INDEFINITELY
STRATEGY KEEPS RAPISTS OF MUKHTAR MAI IN JAIL
12/02/2009: Mukhtar Mai's council, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, had moved an application for adjournment, which was considered the best course of action in the current circumstances. With no right to a further appeal, Mai's rapists will stay in jail. However, the threat to the safety of Mukhtar Mai, and her family, from those implicated in the interference in her case remains.
PAKISTAN - PHOTO SERIES
WOMEN GIVING HOPE TO WOMEN IN PAKISTAN
In 2002, a Pakistani teenager from the rural
After such a punishment, it is traditional for a girl to commit suicide, but Mukhtaran Mai refused to bow down to the illegal action of the council and tribesmen. With the support of her family, a local imam who had denounced the rape, and a journalist, she took her rapists to court, and she won.
After her victory, she has continued to be outspoken on the issue of women's rights in her home country, even in the face of harassment. She founded two schools in Meerwala with money awarded to her by the Pakistani government in reparation for her rape, and later founded the Mukhtar Mai Women's Welfare Organization, which provides education for girls and shelter for victims of domestic abuse and other violence.