A BLOG POST BY MUKHTAR MAI The story of Mukhtar Mai reflects the connection between global concerns with human rights and what happens on the ground.
In 2002, Mukhtar was attacked and brutally raped by order of the powerful Mastoi clan in her village as a punishment because her brother – 12 at the time – had allegedly been having an affair with a Mastoi woman. Bloody, nearly naked and ‘dishonoured’ by this deliberate criminal act, Mukhtar was left to make her way home.
Mukhtar could have taken the path of many other Pakistani women who are raped by committing suicide. But, she instead spoke out about her ordeal in 2002. The men were eventually tried, convicted and put in prison.
As part of the court case, Mukhtar was offered money by the Pakistani government. She accepted these funds, choosing to use them to create a school for girls who would become educated, able to read and make a living for themselves and their children. Mukhtar also learned to read in this school. She has now created three schools serving girls and boys, including boys from the Mastoi tribe.
On 21 April 2011, the Supreme Court in Pakistan acquitted five of the six men convicted of raping Mukhtar. Since the ruling has come down, Mukhtar lives in fear of her life as well as the lives of her family and her employees. There is obvious concern for her safety.
For details of Mukhtar’s remarkable achievements see: http://www.mukhtarmaimmwo.com/index.html
If you wish to show your support for Mukhtar please send the following letter to the President of Pakistan via the website
“His Excellency Mr Asif Ali Zardari President of Pakistan
Dear Mr President
On 21 April 2011 the Supreme Court in Pakistan acquitted five of the six men charged over the village council-sanctioned gang rape of Mukhtar Mai – Case: Criminal Appeals No.163 to 171 and S.M. Case No.5/2005.
Since the ruling Ms Mai lives in fear of her life and that of her family and her employees. There is obvious concern for her safety.
As you are aware the Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. This is made even more explicit in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 6) “Everyone has the inherent right to life; this right shall be protected by law”. All the jurisprudence confirms that governments have an active duty of care to ensure that this right be fully upheld for all within its jurisdiction.
We therefore hereby call upon you to exercise all your authority to ensure that the right to life of Mukhtar Mai and her supporters is fully protected and that this extremely sad case which causes a blot on Pakistan’s international image is brought to a satisfactory conclusion.