Mukhtaran Bibi’s story

One of my resolutions this year is to read and write more. Since I left college, I’ve been doing that less and less. Well, I do read more and more of The Edge, StarBiz or Rating Report, but that are all for work which does not count (to achieve my resolution). I’ve heard Dr. M reads 2 book a day, and he’s already a smart man!

In achieving my resolution and hopping from article to article in the net, I came across this article about Mukhtaran Bibi, the Pakistani woman who was gang raped (it is said as a form of honour-revenge).

Unlike other women who will keep quite or commit suicide due to such humiliation, Mukhtaran Bibi filed charges against the rapist and used the settlement money to open refuge called Mukhtar Mai Women’s Welfare Organization.

The story began in year 2002 when Mukhtaran Bibi’s brother Shaqoor was suspected and accused by the Mastoi of committing illegal sex or zina (fornication or adultery) with a Mastoi girl, Salma. At the trial, the judge commented that the accusation was unsupported.

Shaqoor was later abducted by three Mastoi men. He was taken to the residence of Abdul Khaliq, Salma’s brother. (Shaqoor testified that he had been abducted by three Mastoi men, each of whom sodomized him in a sugarcane field.)

Shaqoor shouted for help, and his relatives heard his cries. Mukhtaran and her relatives rushed outside, where several Mastoi men told them that Shaqoor had committed zina with Salma. Mukhtaran’s mother then sent her brother to get the police.

Mukhtaran’s clan, the Tatla, gathered together in an akath (small crowd or gathering). Separately, a Mastoi akath of about 200 to 250 Mastoi gathered outdoors, less than a hundred meters from Abdul Khaliq’s house.

The police arrived before sunset, freed Shaqoor from the Mastoi, and took him to a police station and held him, pending a possible sex-crime charge against him.

Mukhtaran’s family proposed to settle the matter with the Mastoi by marrying Shakoor to Salma, and marrying Mukhtaran to one of the Mastoi men, and – if Shakoor was found to be at fault – to give some land to Salma’s family.

This proposal was conveyed to Faizan, the Mastoi elder. According to some of the prosecution witnesses, Faizan was initially agreeable, but two men of Salma’s family refused and demanded revenge of zina for zina. Some other Mastoi men allegedly joined them in this demand.

Mastoi’s rep then came to Mukhtaran’s family, and told them that the Mastoi would accept the proposed settlement if she would personally come and apologize to Salma’s family and the Mastoi akath.

She went to the akath with her father and maternal uncle. Addressing the akath, Faizan stated that the dispute was settled and Mukhtaran’s family should be “forgiven.”

Immediately afterward and less than a hundred meters from the akath, Abdul Khaliq, armed with a 30-caliber pistol, forcibly took Mukhtaran inside into a dark room with a dirt floor, where he raped Mukhtaran.

After about an hour inside, she was pushed outside wearing only a torn qameez (long shirt),. The rest of her clothes were thrown out with her. Her father covered her up and took her home. (The clothes were presented as evidence in court.)

That same night, the police were informed that the two clans had settled their dispute, and that Salma’s family was withdrawing its complaint against Shaqoor. His uncle retrieved him from the police station around 2 or 3 a.m.

Read the full stories here:-

 WWO

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