Pakistan: WAF expresses disappointment at Supreme Courts verdict in Mukhtar Mai’s case
Women’s Action Forum expressed deep regret and disappointment at the Supreme Courts decision to acquit five out of six accused in the Mukhtar Mai case. Mukhtaran Mai had filed appeals against the order of the LHC, Multan Bench, commuting the sentence of one accused and acquitting the abettors involved in gang-raping Mukhtaran Mai on June 22, 2002.
The rape occurred on the orders of a Punchayat (village council) convened by the influential Mastoi tribe in the village of Meerwala in southern Punjab. The Punchayat was called to seek punishment for Shakoor, the 12-year-old brother of Mukhtaran Mai. It was suggested that Shakoor marry the girl with whom he was accused of having an affair and Mukhtaran Mai marry a man of the Mastoi tribe. But the Mastois rejected this and insisted that the offence of adultery be settled with adultery. Mukhtaran Mai was called by the Punchayat to apologise for the conduct of her brother who had already been sodomised by the Mastois. She was allegedly dragged to a nearby hut and raped by four men.
A case was registered against 14 accused under the Pakistan Penal Code, the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Hudood Ordinance. Four of the accused were charged with raping Mukhtaran and the rest for abetting the crime. In August 2002, an anti-terrorism court sentenced six men to death (four for raping Mukhtaran and two for being part of the punchayat). The remaining eight were acquitted. Mukhtaran Mai filed separate appeals in the LHC’s Multan Bench against the acquittal of the eight men.