Mukhtaran Mai and Jamshed Dasti

Published: April 30, 2011

The writer is a sub-editor on the web desk of The Express Tribune and is an LLB graduate from the University of London [email protected]

If the ruling party gives even an iota of a damn about women’s rights in Pakistan, it must immediately disown from its ranks Jamshed Dasti, a member of the National Assembly.

If his fake degree was not enough for the party to let go of him, his threats to Mukhtaran Mai last year, demanding that she withdraw the rape allegations, should have been enough. Unfortunately, neither of these episodes elicited any substantial condemnation from his party.

Fortunately for the PPP, Dasti has presented yet another opportunity for action to be taken against him. On Hamid Mir’s “Capital Talk”, the member of parliament openly accused Mai of cashing in on the case and said she enjoyed the globetrotting opportunities the case presented to her. He went on to swear on the Holy Quran that he was certain no gang rape had taken place and that he was grateful the Supreme Court’s (SC) verdict had acquitted the “poor, innocent Mastoi men” who are the real maligned victims of this tragedy. As if this was not enough, he declared that the girls’ schools that Mai has started only cater to rich students.

His rant was punctuated by self-praise and the typical ‘what-about-Aafia?’ rhetoric. He not only believes that the SC verdict should be lauded, but is convinced that the number of people who are outraged by the apex court’s judgment is insignificant and small.

In the spirit of honesty and ministerial responsibility, Dasti and his party need to clarify some things. Perhaps he would do well to remember that the same court that declared his degree to be fake is the same one whose decision he is now lauding. Clearly, the irony in this is lost on this member of parliament.

On his show, Hamid Mir had also invited Mai to speak to those present via a telephone link. As her voice quivered with (to my surprise) anger instead of fear, the brave woman challenged Dasti to give proof of his ‘concrete belief’ that there had been no gang rape. Was he there when it happened, she asked him, and then asked the pertinent question: “Allah na karey, iss ki apni beti keh saath yeh hota to Jamshed Dasti sahab kya kehtay?”

It is unfortunate that a victim who has awaited justice for years is now being blackmailed and subjected to emotional torture by a parliamentarian.

The government, in particular the ruling PPP, must condemn this behaviour and reasses its stance on women’s empowerment specifically, and on human rights in general. How can they allow a person from their party to paint the men involved as victims, and worse, make Mai the villain?

In an effort to belittle her efforts, Dasti has, once again, sent a clear message to the women of this country that they are going to be threatened, maligned and defeated if they are raped.

Is the PPP watching?

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2011.

Reader Comments (32)

  • Apr 30, 2011 - 3:22AM

    Wow, we cannot get more erratic as a nation. We took out rallies, from Karachi till god damn Khyber to support independent judiciary, only to take out similar rallies again. But this time to against its decision. Brilliant ma’am. What an intense, emotive article. Heart-wrenching, really. Except, I’d like to differ.Recommend

  • shade
    Apr 30, 2011 - 3:34AM

    What are we complaining about? Dasti or Supreme Court? I have no love for the former but the judgement from the latter makes it clear-Mai was NOT gang raped. So whats the issue? As a neutral I had no reason to spend my time writing this but my heart aches when I see Farzana Bari and Aasma and the ilk focusing so much attention on Mai however completely ignoring the plight of those thousands of women whose men got murdered and maimed by US drones and bullets. Doesn’t it make clear to me whose line these so called champions of human rights are towing? If Taseer’s murder deserves a thousand candles to be lit, why does no one dare speak a word on the broad daylight murders Raymond the Davis commits in Lahore. Just because the US embassy might take notice and their funding may cease. Time now we begin to understand whats happening around us. No love for Dasti but can’t help praising him for highlighting the role of ‘NGO Mafia’ and what a mafia it is.
    Pakistan must choose. While crimes committed in the name of honour and religion are worth condemning; human rights NGOs are expected to condemn the atrocities committed by US admin. As for Mai, I guess the judgment speaks for itself. No point wasting people’s time- NGOs and Mai have significant US funding to file a review in the court. Recommend

  • Apr 30, 2011 - 3:49AM

    Why wouldn’t you let my comment get published? This is insane. Recommend

  • Apr 30, 2011 - 4:57AM

    @shade You speak my mind, sir. The apex court could not find enough evidence in the GANG rape case. She was raped though and that’s why one man has been sentenced to life imprisonment. And we deeply feel for her. It’s been 9 years now. She’s easily been to 9 countries now. A few books have been written on her. We laud her courage and all those things too. But there are much more grave issues at hand.. I few have been highlighted in the aforementioned comment. One of the issues could perhaps include OTHER battered women. Let’s give those issues their due attention and get over Mai. She proved highly lucrative for the NGO mafia too. World media, especially Pakistani media, also made some great bucks and attracted advertisers. Now we need to get over it.

    “In an effort to belittle her efforts, Dasti has, once again, sent a clear message to the women of this country that they are going to be threatened, maligned and defeated if they are raped.”

    Such statements are very intense and heartfelt but, as a nation, let’s be rational for once. Let’s respect the nonindependent judiciary that we stood for, only a few months back. I’d advise the writer to invest her braincells in something that requires her attention. She’s been given justice already.Recommend

  • Apr 30, 2011 - 4:59AM

    Independent Judiciary*Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmed Siddiqui
    Apr 30, 2011 - 5:18AM

    Truly agree with the above comments.Recommend

  • Apr 30, 2011 - 5:30AM

    Why is it that we only care about crimes if an American is involved?

    @Shade: The people who you refer to have never supported drone attacks and are not silent on it either. Its accepted, globally, that the drone attacks are illegal. Why are they allowed? Well you will have to ask our establishment that!

    As a sovereign nation, we are judged by our capacity to support those who are the most vulnerable. In that respect we fail miserably. While I find Jamshed Dasti’s remarks disgusting, the fact that they can be considered justified, just because you feel that M Mai or her supporters are financed by America, is extremely cynical and insensitive. If you find American actions criminal, then atleast offer your fellow citizens the same luxury of criminalizing their own oppressors. Recommend

  • Wasil Arain
    Apr 30, 2011 - 6:15AM

    Mai notwithstanding all her sufferings and diadvantages has raised herself to an iconic status earning respect and commendations internationally. While Jamshid is a rustic, rude and unqouthed gamin who earns revulsion whenever he opens his mouth,

    In this behalf more condemnable are the TV talk show hosts who invite such persons to make their shows more entertaining.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Apr 30, 2011 - 7:08AM

    I agree that PPP should discipline J. Dasti. But he is not alone, there are many “men” in Pakistan who say the same stupid thing. Dasti may be the worst politician in the country, but good enough to be on the bench of “independent” judiciary!

    Mirza, USARecommend

  • Maulana Diesel
    Apr 30, 2011 - 8:09AM

    i am flabbergasted…why are some of you blaming the drones and Raymond davis on these NGO’s? Dasti is a member of the ruling party, why doesn’t his government stop the drones that are taking off from an airport in Pakistan?

    Mukhtara Mai had a good question for Dasti, was he in the room when the gang rape took place? His answer was that he is the MNA and he knows everything that happens in that area. Dasti is a politician, he will say or do anything that will win him votes even if that entails lying, cheating or looting. In this case he knows that he should support the Mastoi clan because they are wealthy and will support him in return. Did you guys see the way Hamid Mir conducted that show? It was horrible. I will NEVER EVER watch another show by Hamid Mir or Mubashar Luqman and I would urge all of you to do the same.

    Long live Mukhtaran Mai! I salute your courage and bravery.Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Apr 30, 2011 - 8:59AM

    Dasti is supporting rapists and Imran Khan is supporting terrorists. Present and future, both are dark.Recommend

  • Jnaseer
    Apr 30, 2011 - 9:56AM

    Supreme court decision does not men “there was no rape” it only goes to show that they did not have enough evidence to convict. Two very different things. If there was no rape how come one of the accused got life imprisonment.

    Blockquote

    Recommend

  • Apr 30, 2011 - 10:30AM

    Mukhtaraan Mai is Tatla jat while her opponents in muzaffar garh belongs to Baluch tribes from The Punjab like Jatoi, Rind and dashti….but some of our precious colunmists did not mention it. just check the local contradictions alsoRecommend

  • Mirza
    Apr 30, 2011 - 11:06AM

    The statement made by Jamish Dasti revealed his ill state of mind.He has already caused a fair bit of damage to the Government because of his attitude towards his personal affairs in public especially when it comes to education.Although the fake degree delima has caused HEC unrepairable damage in shape of its legal existence, many thanks to current regime, but passing a statement about crime against women who was ganged raped and humiliated by group of people is totally unfair.He should engage himself in corruption or on cheating other people which he is quite good at but should abide by passing such a callous comments on already victimized women.Recommend

  • wahab
    Apr 30, 2011 - 11:13AM

    jamshed Dasti is not entirely wrong.. I am a critic of PPP and especially Dasti, but in this case he is right.. Mukhtara mai is trying to become human Godess or something..one who raped her is in prison, now if she wants the whole family of that person or any one she wants to be in prison..then SoRRY mam this cant happen under an independant judiciary..Recommend

  • SRK
    Apr 30, 2011 - 11:27AM

    The court has actually disappointed me. Why did they convict the 6th suspect if there was no evidence? And Dasti sahab is a stereotypical politician, who doesnt care about anyone else than his few friends. His achievements so far: a fake degree, an attack on a hospital and the threats to MukhtaranRecommend

  • Apr 30, 2011 - 11:35AM

    Seriously. What the blah. EVEN if Mukhtaran Mai’s case was fake, atleast there’s people discussing gang rape now. ATLEAST these issues are getting attention. Isn’t that the first step?Recommend

  • Humayun
    Apr 30, 2011 - 11:45AM

    I really do not have any idea that why are people ranting about Mai yet again, there are thousand other things to give attention too,i do respect the fact that Mai was raped and should get justice as she did right now but in the supreme court, one of the alleged got life imprisonment what else do you want? or does people want that all of the alleged should be behind the bars? if so then be it, but hey listen, there seems to be not enough evidence against them or whatever to be proven in your supreme court of law or else why wouldn’t those other men be behind the bars already,the court doesn’t seem to be biased here, so respect that fact and please get over it.
    Why are some people raising concern against the judgment of court, do you think judges are biased? Hell No, that’s the judiciary we all struggled for to be independent and it is now.Recommend

  • Fahad Shaikh
    Apr 30, 2011 - 11:55AM

    Nadeem Ahmed.

    Could you please prove that Imran Khan is supporting Terrorists… ?

    WAITING… !!!!!!!Recommend

  • M Ali Khan
    Apr 30, 2011 - 1:34PM

    The Supreme Court ruling is a JOKE.

    The ruling IGNORED medical evidence of Mai being raped by more than one man,

    IGNORED eye witness accounts of her being raped AND paraded,

    IGNORED the illegal jirga that ordered the rape,

    IGNORED the rape being occurred at gun point (the gun was later recovered by police in initial investigations)

    IGNORED the prior rape of her 12 year old brother by 3 Matsoi men who then threatened the kid with false charges if he reported it to police (which they did and led to Mukhtar Mai’s badla rape!)

    IGNORED the village maulvi’s insistence of Mai taking her injustice to court,

    and instead started to lecture the poor woman on ‘morality’. wah pakistan wah!Recommend

  • parvez
    Apr 30, 2011 - 1:41PM

    Nicely written. I totally agree with you.
    In Mukhtaran Mai’s case the evidence and the prosecution were sadly lacking.
    In my view, the superior judiciary, more than anyone, would know the loop holes and the consequences of a systemically weak prosecution. As such it became incumbent on then to step up and courageously provide solace and justice to Mukhtaran Mai.
    I pray that this brave lady gets relief in her lifetime. Recommend

  • nd
    Apr 30, 2011 - 2:16PM

    I agree, an example should be made of people like Jamshed Dasti for not being able to admit what happened to Mukhtaran Mai and branding this brave woman a liar. What happened to her was terrible and we need to be reminded of her case in order to understand the kind of sickness prevalent in our society. J.Dasti needs to be held accountable for making statements of this nature. Disgusting!Recommend

  • sas
    Apr 30, 2011 - 2:54PM

    oh look who is swearing on the Holy Quran……… the guy who read the tafseer of Quran by “Hazrat Moosa”…………….!!!!!!!! FREAKING AMAZING!
    this unruly crowd of selfish, lawless and illiterate people can never become a NATION at this rate! SHAME!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • maheen usmani
    Apr 30, 2011 - 3:00PM

    Nauseating man, a conspiracy theorist and a liar to boot. Recommend

  • Maulana Diesel
    Apr 30, 2011 - 6:53PM

    also….let us not forget that these talk show hosts always invite such figures to create a drama to boost their talkshow ratings. Will we ever find out what really happened regarding that taped phone conversation that this talkshow host had with the taliban? Recommend

  • Apr 30, 2011 - 7:07PM

    In the famous golden words of Mr Musharraf – “Things people do for Canadian Visa” . :D Recommend

  • Latif
    Apr 30, 2011 - 9:00PM

    @Karachi Vagabond:

    She was raped though and that’s why one man has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

    It was very easy decision as he admitted to have consummation of marriage, he claimed that he was married to her but could not produce nikkah nama…

    Unfortunately Dasti has maintained that for very long time before and after the decision?
    As I am not lawyer so my questions to critics is that was case dealt according to law of land or not?
    Was any judge influenced?
    Were defense lawyers influenced? Do Judges have enmity with mai? Are judges sympathetic to current PPP leadership or Dasti?
    Do judges have conflict of interest? i
    is there any thing that in case that judges have violated in favor of accused?
    Please enlighten readers about above points rather than being emotional. Everybody is entitled to their opinion and I respect that.Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Apr 30, 2011 - 9:30PM

    @ Fahad, How Imran can say that Drones are killing innocent people? He has never visited any of those homes, nor he has true information about them. Actually no outsider has been there to confirm any deaths. We can rely two sources, one is Taliban and other is our Army Commander. The field Commander of that area, Major General Ghayyur has denied any large scale innocent deaths by drone attacks, but Imran is repeating whatever Taliban’s view point is. Imran has become mouth piece of terrorists, and denying our General’s statement. Isn’t that enough proof that he is with terrorists, not with our brave army, who is fighting them. Daily our soldiers and innocent civilians are killed by terrorists, but Imran has never spoken a word to condemn these killings. For Imran, why nameless innocents in lawless tribal areas are more important than innocents with real names and families who do not belong to terrorists hideouts.Recommend

  • Mariya
    Apr 30, 2011 - 10:55PM

    Hamid mir show on Mukhtaran Mai left me sad and upset. Jamshed dasti had the guts to come on a tv channel like GEO and blame woman for getting raped. He spoke like Musharraf and said that raped woman do it to earn money. Shame on Hamid Mir for not stopping the program. Its men like Jamshed dasti who support evil in the society. Recommend

  • SURR
    Apr 30, 2011 - 11:09PM

    Stop it dont you have your work to do…Recommend

  • Saad
    Apr 30, 2011 - 11:36PM

    You are absolutely wrong it is not dasti it is the SUPREME COURT and AItzaz who have sent this obscene message Recommend

  • S Imam
    May 1, 2011 - 3:39AM

    A moving argument in support of a victim of Pakistani laws and judicial system, both based on feudal world view! My heart shed tears when I see a victim of gang-rape is humiliated on media so that a talk-show could maintain its high-rating! Doesn’t she deserve a bit respect like any woman of the families of the Mr. Mir or Mr Dasti?Recommend

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