Five years on: Mukhtar Mai’s quest for justice resumes

Published: December 1, 2010
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Supreme Court bench hears appeals against the acquittal of the accused.

Supreme Court bench hears appeals against the acquittal of the accused.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday resumed its hearing into the Mukhtar Mai rape case that has been pending before the apex court since 2005. Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, the counsel for Mukhtar Mai, argued the case.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan and comprising Justice Nasirul Mulk and Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing four appeals each filed by the state as well as Mukhtar Mai   against the acquittal of the accused in the case.

In 2002, Mukhtar Mai, a resident of Meerwala, Muzaffargarh district, allegedly became a gang rape victim (as a form of honour revenge) on the orders of a ‘panchayat’ of a local Mastoi clan. An anti-terrorism court convicted six men in the case and sentenced them to death on August 31, 2002. The convicts moved to the Lahore High Court (LHC), which acquitted the five of them on March 3, 2005.

The federal government decided to appeal against the acquittal. In the meantime, the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) overruled the decision of the LHC and the accused were arrested again. But the apex court overruled the decision of the FSC and held that it did not have the authority to intervene. The court decided to hear the case itself.

Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan submitted that there were 14 accused in the case, of which six, including Abdul Khaliq, Ghulam Farid, Muhammad Ramzan, Muhammad Fayyaz, Allah Dita and Faiz Muhammad, were convicted by the trial court.

He further said that Abdul Khaliq and Ghulam Farid were also awarded punishment. Ahsan further contended that Faiz Muhammad, Muhammad Fiaz, Allah Ditta and Muhammad Ramzan were sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs20,000 and 30 stripes under Section 11 of the Hudood Ordinance read with 149 PPC.

Ahsan also provided details of the other eight accused acquitted by the court, besides reading out the contents of the FIR lodged by Mukhtar Mai on June 30, 2002. He informed the court that four men raped Mukhtar Mai at gun point on June 22, 2002. The court, after hearing Aitzaz Ahsan’s preliminary arguments, adjourned the hearing till Wednesday.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2010.

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