Mukhtaran Bibi, now known as Mukhtaran Mai, a Pakistani woman from the village “Meerwala”, of district Muzaffargarh, was the survivor of gang rape, in June 2002.
As a form of honor revenge, on the orders of a tribal council of the local clan that was richer and more powerful as opposed to her clan in that region. In CSS Examination, the case study of Mukhtaran Mai is important. This is the case study of Mukhatran Mai who survived a gang rape in 2022.
Case Study of Mukhtaran Mai
Mukhtaran Mai case is a must-read on gender-based violence in Pakistan. Although local customs would expect her to commit suicide after being raped by six men, Mukhtaran spoke up and pursued the case, which was picked up by both domestic and international media. The perpetrators of the rape were eventually acquitted by the Apex court of the country.
Popular media in the United States called her a “faceless, illiterate, peasant girl from a nowhere village” until she “transcended her role,” in Pakistani society. She refuted this opinion through her action by emerging as an outspoken advocate for women’s rights. Mai went on to become a symbol for advocates for the health and security of women in her region, attracting both national and international attention to these issues.
Mukhtaran’s family initially attempted to resolve the conflict by requesting that Shakoor wed Salma and that one of the Mastoi marry Mukhtaran. The agreement was initially accepted by the Mastoi family, but Salma’s brothers, including one of the men who raped Shakoor, rejected it.
The case of Mukhtaran Mai is not an ordinary case. It has many dimensions: It depicts the feudal and political culture, specifically of the rural setup, where women face a sexual assault by virtue of forced marriages against their will and their handing over by their men folk as compensatory chattel to settle a feud.
Mukhtaran Mai was presented to the opponent after many hours of negotiation to settle the dispute between the two clans. Such cases rarely come to light.
The case of Mukhtaran Mai also speaks about the conventional attitude of our Police; the case was registered the same night, but the Police did not take any action until a local Masjid Imam condemned the rape in his sermon on Friday after it occurred.
The Police did not bother to investigate the case from the right perspective. The conventional opinion about religious clerics is also refuted in the case of Mukhtaran Mai; the Imam Masjid not only condemned the rape in his sermon but also convinced Mukhtaran’s father and persuaded the family to file charges against the rapists. It was all after his concern that the case was highlighted for the subsequent media mewing.
Women in Pakistani society have internalized patriarchal commandments. They are the primary witness to the oppression, discrimination, violence, and sexual assault against their folk, but they remain silent due to their cultural indoctrination. The women who witnessed the “behind-the-wall rape of Mukhtaran Mai neither did try to rescue her nor even protested against the human insult.
The government instead of building the capacity of its institutions and affording the opportunity to the citizens to spark out their concerns prefer taking unconstitutional measures while violating basic human rights. It tries to place an embargo on the right to speech and the right to movement of the citizens, especially the victims of brutality in such cases.
Mr. Pervez Musharraf, the former President of Pakistan, has admitted on his personal blog that he placed restrictions on Mukhtaran Mai’s movement in 2005, as he was fearful that her work and the publicity it received would hurt the international image of Pakistan, so her passport was confiscated, and she was not allowed to go to America on the invitation of Amnesty International.
The women in our society when coming across an environment to deliver come forward and tap it to the fullest to educate others on how to fight societal injustice and subjugation while forgetting their personal insult and misery.
Though the safety of Mukhtaran and her family and friends remained in jeopardy, she launched the Mukhtaran Mai Women’s Welfare Organization (MMWWO) to help support and educate the local community, especially women, through education and other projects.
Her organization aims at promoting education with a view toward raising awareness about women’s rights and gender issues and preventing future honor crimes.
Mukhtaran used the compensation money awarded by the Pakistani government as well as donations from around the world to build two local schools for girls. There were no schools for girls in Mukhtaran’s village before this and she never had the opportunity to get an education.
Role of Judiciary in Mukhtara Mai Case
In August 2002, an anti-terrorism court awarded the 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 to 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 the 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 had also requested the court to constitute a larger bench to hear her petition contending that she is aggrieved and dissatisfied with the findings of the court.
If you wish you can download and read the SC verdict on the Mukhtaran Mai case.
Court Order in Mukhtaran Mai Case
In view of the majority decision, all the noted appeals are hereby dismissed. The suo-moto action initiated by this Court vide order dated 14.03.2005 in the matter is also discharged.
Therefore, all those who were arrested pursuant to the order of this Court dated 28.6.2005 if not required in any other case be released forthwith.
Abdul Khaliq, however, shall be released after serving his sentence as awarded to him by the learned High Court, the benefit of Section 382 Criminal Procedure Code extended to him by that Court is also maintained.
Role of Media in Mukhtrana Mai Case
The Pakistani and International Media reported on Mukhtrana Mai’s case very efficiently. The top Newspaper of the world like DAWN, DW, and Express are a few of them to mention here.
Meanwhile, the international press largely gave coverage to Mukhtaran Mai. They make it seem like the ultimate good news story.
Indeed, Mai’s news provided the ideal “happy ending” narrative during the civil-military conflict in Lahore, something that no one anticipated from the Long March at the time.
All struggle that Mukhtrana Mai has to face was covered by the local and international media.
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