Mukhtaran Mai verdict: Citizens enraged by Supreme Court let down

Verdict in Mukhtaran Mai’s case will discourage women seeking justice, say activists.

Express April 22, 2011
Mukhtaran Mai verdict: Citizens enraged by Supreme Court let down


Supreme Court judgement on the Mukhtaran Mai case stirred a lively response from the women rights’ activists in the capital. Civil society members, activists and university students staged a protest under the banner of Awami Jahmoori Forum at D-Chowk on Thursday. They condemned the verdict given by the Supreme Court in which one of the accused, in the gang rape case of Mai, was sentenced to life sentence while others were set free. They claimed that the decision had shaken the confidence and the sense of security of the women in Pakistan.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Farzana Bari, a human rights’ activist said, “Our public has given justice to Muktaran Mai but unfortunately our courts have failed to do so.” She added the court-of-law had failed to ensure justice to the victim who had been fighting for it since long.

Moreover, she demanded for amendments to be made in the criminal justice legislation from a gender perspective and also recommended changes in the Evidence Act.

Students of different universities, Sadia Rabbani, Shaista Shakoor, Nida Malik had the same thing to say while talking to The Express Tribune.

“We are proud of Muktaran Mai and will fight for her till the time she gets justice,” said one of the students.

Earlier, a meeting was organised by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), members of Insani Huqooq Ittehad, including Potohar Organisation for Development Advocacy and Mehergargh, among others.

They expressed deep shock and disappointment at the verdict given by the court.  They added that the court’s orders reflected faulty investigation on the police’s part and the loop holes which were left intentionally to side with the power brokers

Members said the judgment did prove that Mai was raped because one accused was sentenced to life imprisonment, while others were acquitted.

“We are surprised to see why only one of the accused was punished and others were acquitted from the charges of ‘gang rape’. “The case has been a classic example of how facts are distorted and documentation of the evidence is tampered with at all levels,” said an activist.

The group expressed concerns at the long delays in dispensing justice saying that the victim was raped in 2002 on the instructions of the local panchayat (verdict of tribal elders). In 2005, the chief justice of the superior court took a suo moto notice of the case. Despite the intervention, it had taken more than nine years for the decision.

“We feel that the criminal justice system does not favour women and is patriarchal in nature. Impunity is the order of the day,” said another activist.

She added, “The outcome of Mai’s case discourages survivors of rape from reporting it.”

Chairperson, Anis Haroon demanded the government to review the criminal justice system as it had failed to give a justice to a ‘well-deserving’ woman.

Moreover, Samar Minallah, women rights’ activist said, “By giving such favours to the culprits, our courts have supported the jirga system.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2011.


Mirza | 13 years ago | Reply In Pakistan most rape victims do not report the crime due to the long drawn out legal process and accompanied publicity. The laws are so convoluted that the rapists seem innocent and the victim has to prove their guilt. The brave Mukhtar Mai was gang raped but she stood against the rapists, tyrants and their rich supporters. However, she was once again victimized by Punjab HC and then by the so-called "independent" SC. Mai, I am ashamed of being a Pakistani man and apologize to you. You are as pure and clean as my late mother, sisters and daughters. The whole world is with you if not the few male judges of Pakistan. Mirza, USA
SS | 13 years ago | Reply The supreme court has made a decision that will haunt them forever.. May they burn in hell now for what they have done to this country.. Stupid government and stupid judiciary.. For the name of God, they are our mothers, daughters and sisters... wake up and hang the rapists today.. If this is not done, then the punishment of God is very severe.. I pray to ALLAH to punish these rapists and the judges who made this decision with great intensity and make them a symbol for all eternity..
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