!http://photos16.flickr.com/19477208_e3bf4bcaac_t.jpg! The New York Times ‘reports’:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/29/opinion/29kris.html?ex=1254196800&en=6d77205dccbf6285&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland:
bq.. …In June 2002, the police say, members of a high-status tribe sexually abused one of Ms. Mukhtaran’s brothers and then covered up their crime by falsely accusing him of having an affair with a high-status woman. The village’s tribal council determined that the suitable punishment for the supposed affair was for high-status men to rape one of the boy’s sisters, so the council sentenced Ms. Mukhtaran to be gang-raped.
As members of the high-status tribe danced in joy, four men stripped her naked and took turns raping her. Then they forced her to walk home naked in front of 300 villagers.
p. You would imagine we would have laws against these things, but no, the tribal council proscribing this insane punishment doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist by the govt.
bq.. In Pakistan’s conservative Muslim society, Ms. Mukhtaran’s duty was now clear: she was supposed to commit suicide.
…But instead of killing herself, Ms. Mukhtaran testified against her attackers and propounded the shocking idea that the shame lies in raping, rather than in being raped. The rapists are now on death row, and President Pervez Musharraf presented Ms. Mukhtaran with the equivalent of $8,300 and ordered round-the-clock police protection for her.
p. The rapists made it to -death row- trial because of the international attention, but what about the tribal council which passed the law in the first place? Putting them behind bars would send out a strong message and maybe even prevent similar rulings which still take place in too many places around the country.
bq.. Ms. Mukhtaran, who had never gone to school herself, used the money to build one school in the village for girls and another for boys – because, she said, education is the best way to achieve social change. The girls’ school is named for her, and she is now studying in its fourth-grade class.
“Why should I have spent the money on myself?” she asked, adding, “This way the money is helping all the girls, all the children.”
I wish the story ended there. But *the Pakistani government has neglected its pledge to pay the schools’ operating expenses.* “The government made lots of promises, but it hasn’t done much,” Ms. Mukhtaran said bluntly.
p. Pakistan’s education budget is barely enough to cover the education ministrys fleet of mercedes let alone schools. I mean, one has to have priorites right?
bq.. Meanwhile, villagers say that relatives of the rapists are waiting for the police to leave and then will put Ms. Mukhtaran in her place by slaughtering her and her entire family. I walked to the area where the high-status tribesmen live. They denied planning to kill Ms. Mukhtaran, but were unapologetic about her rape.
“Mukhtaran is totally disgraced,” Taj Bibi, a matriarch in a high-status family, said with satisfaction. “She has no respect in society.”
p. Osama has nothing on these people. It’s a sad statement on the state of affairs in this country that even with international pressure the Musharraf govt. didn’t do anything concrete about the tribal councils, many of which often pass such criminally insane sentences. Such sentences are completely against humanity, and are totally haram/forbidden in Islam. In this case, the local maulvi condemned the rape in his friday sermon, and from there on it gathered a ‘lot of attention’:http://www.google.com/search?q=Mukhtaran+Bibi.
*Update:* “Wikipedia”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukhtaran_Bibi has a very good overview of the whole incident. _(Thanks Zaigham Rizvi!)_
*March 3, 2005:* ‘ Acquittals in Pakistan gang rape’:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4314153.stm
bq. Five men sentenced to death in a high-profile gang-rape case in the Pakistani province of Punjab have been acquitted on appeal.
bq. She was gang-raped on the orders of village elders. Yesterday, Mukhtaran Bibi’s nightmare began again.
>> ‘The Guardian Unlimited’:http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,2763,1430298,00.html
The Pakistan govt. is planning to ‘appeal’:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4323801.stm.
*June 14, 2005:* The ‘sad update’:http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,1506229,00.html is that the Pakistani govt. has freed the rapists, and placed Mukhtaran Bibi under ‘house arrest’:http://wireservice.wired.com/wired/story.asp?section=Breaking&storyId=1048914&tw=wn_wire_story and stopped her from ‘leaving the country’:http://www.dawn.com/2005/06/11/top11.htm. Amnesty International had invited her to speak in London and America, and it seems the good General has done this because he is afraid she might ‘tarnish the image of Pakistan’:http://www.chapatimystery.com/archives/homistan/free_mukhtar_mai.html. Even Shaukat Aziz, who one thought was educated enough to know better is ‘lying through his ass:’:http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,2763,1505198,00.html
bq. The prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, said the move was a “security measure” after threats against her life. “Whatever we are doing is to protect her,” he said.
p. The Pakistan govt. must be applauded for their touching concern that these big bad terrorist organizations like Amnesty International and the Asian-American Network Against Abuse of Women might be setting up a devious trap for Mai, and are doing their best to protect her.
Zack said it ‘best:’:http://www.zackvision.com/weblog/archives/entry/001312.html
bq. This is what Musharraf is. *He is doing what dictators do.*
Nicholas Kirstoff, who has been championing her case all this while, and has raised 133,000 dollars so far for her, has not been allowed a visa by the Pakistan govt. He should have been applauded for his work – not cold shouldered by the Pakistan govt. Read his June 14 column on this: ‘Raped, Kidnapped and Silenced’:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/14/opinion/14kristof.html?ex=1276401600&en=c42b9627b013b9e9&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
Daily Times: ‘US dismayed by Mukhtar Mai�s treatment: Rocca’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_15-6-2005_pg1_2
bq. Christina Rocca, the assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, told US lawmakers that the US Embassy had been in contact with Mai�s friends on Tuesday but had not been able to reach the woman herself.
Some conflicting reports say that she was not really under arrest, but if the US Embassay, her lawyer, friends, family and foreign jounralists can’t get in touch with her then obviously something fishy is going on.
The latest sad twist to the story is that the govt. has ‘pressurized’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_15-6-2005_pg1_4 Mukhtar Mai to cancel her trip abroad.
bq. Asma Jehangir, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chairperson, said a tearful Mai had told her she was made to sign a letter addressed to the US Embassy, asking to withdraw her passport from a visa application.
A letter in ‘Dawn’:http://www.dawn.com/2005/06/15/letted.htm#1:
bq.. …As far as the avoidance of a bad press abroad goes, we can fill pages with analysis and dissections of the idiocy of this point of view, but what one would like to know is: *which genius is responsible for this decision?*
Could our president and prime minister please stop touring the globe and get to the bottom of this?
p. Both Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz are aware of whats going on – they both have issued statements about Mukhtar Mai in the past few days – so it boggles the mind as to what exactly they think they are achieving.
*June 15, 2005:* The travel ban has been lifted on the orders of the Prime Minister:
bq.. The Pakistan government has lifted a foreign travel ban on the victim of a high profile gang rape, Mukhtar Mai.
But Ms Mai has told the BBC that because her passport has been confiscated, the move is meaningless.
>> ‘BBC News: Travel ban on rape victim lifted’:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4095912.stm
p. Mai has been stopped from meeting her laywer, Mr Aitzaz Ahsan of the People�s Party Parliamentarians (PPP), who is also a miniter in the National Assembly. The govt. has not yet said why she was banned from travelling in the first place.
*June 18, 2005:* ‘Musharraf sinking to new lows at a press conference in Auckland’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_18-6-2005_pg1_3:
bq.. President General Pervez Musharraf said on Friday that he ordered a travel ban on Mukhtar Mai to *protect Pakistan�s image abroad.*
Gen Musharraf said Mukhtar Mai, the victim of a punchayat-ordered gang rape, was being taken to the United States by foreign non-government organisations “to bad-mouth Pakistan” over the “terrible state” of the nation�s women. He said NGOs are “Westernised fringe elements” which “are as bad as the Islamic extremists”.
…”She was told not to go” to the United States to appear on media there to tell her story, Gen Musharraf told the Auckland Foreign Correspondents� Club.
p. The govt. has no business telling its citizens where they can and cannot go. The above quote really doesn’t need any further commentary. Sadly enough, our previous democratic leaders would have done exactly the same thing. Such is the state of politics/dictatorship in Pakistan. How does one explain to Musharraf that he just did more damage to Pakistan’s ‘image’ than he can probably comprehend. How does one explain to people like him that to the very people whose ‘image’ of Pakistan he’s protecting can understand rape – it happens all over the world in every ‘country’:http://www.rainn.org/ – but what Musharraf and co. cannot comprehend is that by abusing his powers and illegally detaining Mukhtaran he is in essence raping her of her basic human rights.
Mukhtaran intends to go abroad, but in the ‘meantime’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_18-6-2005_pg1_4:
bq. Asked about her passport, she said she did not know where it was, but that it was no longer with the American embassy.
*June 19 2005:* Pakistan watchers all over the world are debating: ‘Has Pakistans President Pervez Musharraf gone nuts?’:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4103556.stm After Musharraf’s latest remarks, the ‘New York Times thinks he has’:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/opinion/19kristof.html?ex=1276833600&en=91f1285011ebd373&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss.
Nicholas Kristoff ‘responding’:http://forums.nytimes.com/top/opinion/readersopinions/forums/editorialsoped/opedcolumnists/kristofresponds/index.html?offset=827&fid=.f3beae7/827 to readers emails:
bq. It does make you think: If this is how President Musharraf treats a woman who has the world’s attention, whom U.S. officials have spoken out strongly on behalf of, then what happens to an ordinary woman who isn’t in the spotlight?
*June 23, 2005:* ‘CNN’:http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/06/22/travel.pakistan.rape.ap/: Under pressure from the entire world, the government has finally promised to return her passport. Musharaf continued to shoot his other foot and stuffed it in his mouth along with his policy of ‘enlightened moderation’ as he insulted all of Pakistan’s NGO’s – which include people like Abdul Sattar Edhi who should have been nominated for the Nobel prize years back if the Pakistan govt. had any sense. Musharraf also painted the ‘Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’:http://www.hrcp-web.org/index.cfm with the same brush, acusing them of helping rape and abuse victimes when rape was not “a rampant malaise Pakistan suffers from everyday” and therefore not something which needs to be highlighted of discussed in public.
bq. It is hard to imagine that any progress would have been made in Pakistan in the areas of human rights and the protection of children and women without the NGOs. In many sectors, […]the government has virtually abdicated its responsibilities, leaving the people to fend for themselves with the help of NGOs which, in turn, survive with crucial support from Western countries and international organisations. The contribution of the NGOs extends to education, poverty alleviation, health and many other areas.
>> ‘Daily Times: God bless our NGOs �Razi Azm’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_23-6-2005_pg3_2
* ‘Mukhtaran Bibis website’:http://www.mukhtarmai.com/
* ‘Time: Asian Heroes’:http://www.time.com/time/asia/2004/heroes/hmukhtar_mai.html :: Challenging A Tribal Code of “Honor”
* ‘Google News’:http://news.google.com/news?q=Mukhtar+Mai
* ‘BBC: Rape victim demands her freedom’:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4092868.stm
* ‘The Independant: Womens rights in Pakistan: The woman who dared to cry rape’:http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/story.jsp?story=646952
* ‘Tom Watson: Musharraf = Coward’:http://tomwatson.typepad.com/tom_watson/2005/06/musharraf_cowar.html
* Technorati: Mukhtar Mai
* ‘VIEW: Gang rapes � tribal justice or live porn? �Miranda Husain’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_18-6-2005_pg3_6
* ‘Human Rights Watch: Pakistan’:http://hrw.org/campaigns/pakistan/
* “Letters to Daily Times, June 18, 2005”:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_18-6-2005_pg3_7
* ‘BBC News: Pakistans gang rape PR disaster’:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4103556.stm :: Has Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf “gone nuts”?
* ‘The New York Times – Nichlas Kristoff: A Free Woman’:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/opinion/19kristof.html?ex=1276833600&en=91f1285011ebd373&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
* ‘Nicholas Kristoff reponds to reader email here’:http://forums.nytimes.com/top/opinion/readersopinions/forums/editorialsoped/opedcolumnists/kristofresponds/index.html?page=recent
* ‘Daily Times: God bless our NGOs �Razi Azm’:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_23-6-2005_pg3_2 :: If it were not for the NGOs, even Mukhtar Mai would have been just another statistic in the table of honour-crimes and gang-rapes that are far more common than President Musharraf recently suggested
* “Chris Cork: One Small Step”:http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=25733
# This whole sad affair also shows how govt. works in this country. The prime minister of the country is ordering enquries to find out who placed Mukhtar Mai on the exit control list, while the President/dictator is proudly telling the world in a press conference in Auckland, New Zealand that he placed her on the ECL. Many days have passed since Musharraf revealed himeself guilty, but just a couple of days ago Shaukat Aziz’s very public inquiry was still going on.
# Many NGO’s are nothing more than social tea party get togethers, but as with everything else, they can’t all be lumped into one category. Besides, it is not the government’s money being wasted if a random socialite/bored aunty decides to host a conference at a 5 star hotel with western funding – it promotes tourism at the very least as foreigners fly in and out.