ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of a review petition filed in the Mukhtaran Mai case against the acquittal of 13 people accused of gang-rape.
A three-member bench led by Justice Gulzar Ahmed fixed the hearing for March 27. The decision came after the accused sought time to hire legal counsel.
SC to take up Mukhtaran Mai’s review plea on 6th
In June 2002, Mai was gang-raped on orders of a ‘panchayat’ as punishment after her younger brother was accused of illicit relations with a girl from a rival tribe.
In August 2002, an anti-terrorism court awarded death penalty to six out of 14 identified by Mai – four were sentenced for rape while two were awarded capital punishment for being part of the village council. The ATC released eight others.
In March 2005, five convicts were acquitted by a Lahore High Court bench while one’s sentence was converted into life imprisonment.
The acquittal was challenged in the apex court. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan and comprising former CJPs Nasirul Mulk and Mian Saqib Nisar upheld LHC decision and rejected the appeal in its April 2011 verdict.
Mai filed a review petition against the judgment in May 2011. In her review petition, Mai has pleaded that the court should review and recall the judgment and grant relief as prayed in the appeal. She has also requested the court to constitute a larger bench to hear her petition, contending that she is aggrieved of and dissatisfied with the findings of the court.
13 accused in Mukhtaran Mai case set free
Mai took the rare step of filing criminal charges against her attackers. Her decision to speak out earned her widespread recognition. She was named Glamour magazine’s 2005 woman of the year and her autobiography at one point was the number three bestseller in France.
She started the Mukhtar Mai Women’s Welfare Organization to help support and educate Pakistani women and girls with money she received from the government and from donations.
With additional input from Reuters.