Gang-rape victim Mukhtaran Mai has rejected the allegations levelled against her in a US diplomatic cable released by global secret-buster WikiLeaks.
The cable – sent in 2006 by then US ambassador Ryan C Crocker to Washington – referred to a report by six Pakistani NGOs, which said that Mai and her brother – Hazoor Bakhsh – became involved in local politics on behalf of the family and were accorded the same respect as traditional tribal elders.
While the civil society initially viewed Mai’s involvement in local affairs as a source for change, they later became increasingly concerned that she and her family were simply abusing power, the cable said.
However, in a letter written to the media on Tuesday, Mai rejected the charges, saying that Hazoor Bakhsh, the man mentioned in the cable, was not her brother.
The cable said that Bakhsh had convened a panchayat to review the case of a nine-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by three men. According to activists, Mai urged ‘her brother’ to deal with the case through a panchayat rather than the formal legal system.
But Mai said that she had filed a case against this panchayat mentioned and that all of its members, including Hazoor Bakhsh, were arrested. She said the six NGOs which compiled the report had acted irresponsibly by providing unverified information to the US embassy.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2011.