Original Articles

Mukhtaran’s case: Let’s be reasonable -by Waseem Altaf


I think it is in the fitness of things to consider the following points, before we, the educated lot, drift towards emotionality and approach the issue with pre-conceived ideas, as is becoming visible on the nature of posts appearing on the forum:

a) In a civilized society, the heinous act of rape committed against any woman has to be condemned and, if proven, be subjected to the harshest punishment.

b) However as one saying goes, it is better that a thousand guilty men go free than one innocent man be executed.

c) I am sure; most of us have knowledge of the Mukhtar case based on media reports and rhetoric of the NGO’s. However very few of us have actually gone through the detailed Supreme Court judgment of the case, though it is available on the net, let alone following the course of events with an unbiased view.

d) On 22nd June 2002 Abdul Shakoor, 17, brother of Mukhtar was caught with Salma,sister of Manzoor.Shakoor was then handed over to police station Jatoi. Mukhtar’s father Ghulam Farid Qatla then goes to the police station and after paying Rs. 10,000 to the police brings his son back.

e)A panchayat is held at night on the same date i.e. 22nd June, where it is decided that Salma, the sister of the main accused Manzoor would get married to Shakoor, the brother of Mukhtar, whereas Mukhtar would be married to, Manzoor in exchange. However a fight breaks out between Molvi Abdur Razzaq, half brother of Mukhtar’s father, and the accused party.

f) Salma is then married to Khalil on 26.6.2002 which ignites the whole incident. It is interesting to note that Mukhtar,later implicates Khalil, and his real paternal uncles, Qasim,Rasool and Hazoor, and Nazar,his maternal uncle.

g) Nothing happens in between 22nd and 28th of June 2002, and nobody in the village knows anything about the incident, until the Juma prayers, where during the khutba,Molvi Razzaq narrates the incident,without consulting Mukhtar and her family .Molvi Abdur Razzaq, quite intriguingly did not even divulge this incident to his brother Altaf Hussain with whom he lives in the same house. He later informs the court that the incident was told to him by somebody whom he did not remember and the incident was told to that person whom he did not remember. The only prosecutrix in the case is Mukhtar alone.

h) The incident is then carried by a local Multan newspaper, an eveninger namely”naya akhbar” and the following day a national daily namely “khabrain” flashes it as a super lead. Soon the international press and media along with an Islamabad based NGO by the name of PATTAN, get into the business and the Federal and Provincial Government of Punjab are hard pressed to take immediate and stern action.

i) One indicator of the panic prevalent at that time was that the decision of the anti-terrorist court D G Khan was released at 12.50 PM at night on 31.8.2002, as the judgment was going to and fro at the top provincial level through fax for additions/subtractions.

j) What was the role of Molvi Abdur Razzaq, a relative of the aggrieved, who failed to broker an agreement on exchange marriages and had a property dispute with the family of the accused.

k)13 accused remain behind bars for 9 years as their only crime was that they were relatives of Manzoor, the main accused and part of the panchayat, although around 250/300 people were in attendance.

l) Molvi Razzaq approached the father of Mukhtar alongwith the media on 29th June, and on 30th June 2002 an FIR was lodged.

m) It is important to note that the accused are equally poor and underprivileged as the aggrieved. There is no record of any threats to Mukhtar and her family.

n) When Shakoor, the brother of Mukhtar discovered that his sister was allegedly raped, he then accused the defendants of committing sodomy with him and not earlier.

o) Mukhtar was allegedly raped for one hour and nobody knew about it even her father and uncle who were present nearby. No bruises were found on her body later.

p)Mukhtar’s medical examination was carried out on 30th June 2002,after a lapse of 8 days and both external and internal swabs were found positive, a clinical impossibility.

q) So while taking a hardcore stance on the case, we must consider the element of village rivalries, power of mullah holding the pulpit in a rural setting, not to forget the part played by Maulvi Salim in the famous Aasia Bibi case, role of media and press, particularly the eveningers, the vested interests of NGO’s and other stakeholders, the tremendous pressure being faced by the Federal and Provincial bureaucracy in cases which are internationalized.

r) Let me also in the end highlight the plight of all the 13 accused in the case, finally acquitted but after spending 9 long years in hell, their families and future completely devastated. Should they not ask for compensation or file a criminal case of malicious implication as they have been exonerated by the apex court?

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Junaid Qaiser

15 Comments

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  • Can we cite some other independent sources? looks like it all depends on how one narrates the events.

    (reference:- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4620065.stm, viewed 28 April 2011)

    22 June, 2002: Mukhtar Mai, aged 30, is gang raped allegedly on the orders of a village council in the southern Punjab village of Meerwala in Pakistan.

    It is reported that the influential local Mastoi tribe had convened the council (jirga) to seek punishment for Ms Mai’s 12-year-old brother Shakoor.

    The Mastois allege that Shakoor had been seen in the company of a Mastoi woman and that had brought shame to the Mastoi clan.

    Ms Mai’s family says the charge against Shakoor is fabricated after he was sodomised by men from the Mastoi clan and the Mai family had threatened to report the matter to the police.

    Shakoor, meanwhile, is arrested by the police on charges of adultery.

    (Three men are eventually tried for sodomising Shakoor and sentenced to five years imprisonment each. They are still in jail.)

    The village council suggests that Shakoor marry the girl he was seen with and Mai, a divorcee, be married to a Mastoi man.

    The Mastois reportedly reject the deal, insisting that zina (adultery) must be settled with zina according to the eye-for-an-eye principle.

    Mukhtar Mai is called to the council to apologise for her brother’s conduct.

    She appears and apologises but is dragged to a nearby hut and gang raped allegedly by four men.

    The Mastois inform the police that the dispute has been settled and Shakoor is released.

    28 June, 2002: During his weekly Friday sermon, the village imam (prayer leader) declares that a great sin has been committed and asks the villagers to report the matter to the police.

    The imam then tells a reporter from a nearby town who publishes the story in the local press.

    It is immediately picked up by the international media and the Punjab government asks the police to take immediate action.

    30 June: A case is registered with the Dera Ghazi Khan (southern Punjab) police against 14 men.

  • (http://www.defence.pk/forums/national-political-issues/105168-review-plea-filed-mukhtar-mai-case-aitzaz.html, last viewed 28 April 2011)

    LAHORE: Barrister Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for Mukhtar Mai, has announced filing of a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict acquitting five men of the charge of gang-raping his client.

    In a statement on Saturday, Mr Ahsan expressed his disappointment at the Supreme Court’s verdict, terming the judgment manifestly flawed and not even based on the evidence available on record.

    “In drawing their conclusions, the learned judges disregarded cogent evidence and failed to notice actual material on the record and the facts proved thereby,” Mr Ahsan observed.

    The former SCBA president and PPP leader further said that judges had misread evidence that they had adverted to.

    “The judges have also failed to take notice of the social backdrop, which was established on the record itself, and in the context of which the horrendous crime of gang-rape was committed, reported and investigated,” he added.

    Mr Ahsan maintained that the decision needed to be reviewed and recalled.

    “I have consulted Mukhtar Mai, and we have decided that a petition seeking review of the April 21 judgment will be filed soon,” the statement said.

    He also pointed out that the petition would contain a full critique of the judgment and there was no need for him to make any other comments in media on the subject.

    “We are grateful to the people, the media, civil society and particularly the women of Pakistan for their committed support in this critical hour.”

  • It should also be worth mentioning that SC has not rejected the case all together,

    “In a split judgment the Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of Mukhtaran Mai against the acquittal of all of the accused for rape and connivance, except the one convicted for rape by the High Court and sentenced to a life term. In other words the Supreme Court has held that there isn’t sufficient evidence to establish that Mukhtaran Mai was a victim of gang rape. It has endorsed the High Court ruling that Mukhtaran Mai was a victim of rape and the prime accused will serve a life term behind bars. A dispassionate reading of the ruling suggests that the Supreme Court has applied settled law to the case and consequently it is hard to disagree with the ratio of the majority ruling.”

    (http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=43225&Cat=9&dt=4/23/2011, last viewed 18 April 2011)

  • Here is a parawise rejoinder to the points you raised:
    1.Even the supporters of Mukhtaran Mai(MM) admit that mastois are even poorer and underpriveliged as compared to Qatlas,the Gujjar clan to which MM belongs.
    2.Shakoor was not 12 but 17 , when this incident took place.
    3.And why the accusation of sodomy was raised on 30th June ,when Mukhtaran lodged an FIR on gang rape charges and not earlier.
    4.You do not specify who rejected the deal.Molvi Abdur Razzaq accused Ramzan Pachar and Ghulam Farid of refusing the exchange marriages whereas they were not even a member of the mastoi family and had no influence over others.Mukhtar’s father and uncle were present in the jirga when ia a nearby house she was allegedly raped.What did they do?Why they kept sleeping until Molvi Abdur Razzaq took charge of the situation who had a property dispute with mastois.

  • I would not have expected such rubbish appearing on the pages of LUBP, this guy probably read the first part of the judgement by the two rapists err.. the judges. Pretending as if people don’t know the facts about the case. Whoever wrote this rubbish does not bother to read the judgement by Justice Nasir-ul-mulk, neither bothered to go through the newspapers to ascertain the facts.
    I am all for giving the freedom of expression to everyone on the pages of LUBP , however the “rapists” supporting “rapists” and selling their perverted ideas on this esteemed blog should not be given free hand.

  • In your second comment,are you referring to the same Aitzaz Ehsan who was accused by Ch.Afzal of Haris Steel Mills of charging 1.5 crore rupees to “settle” the case.Aitzaz later told that he did not charge but Aitzaz Associates.Quite funny ahan.
    Are you talking of the same Aitzaz who would spearhead the movement of judiciary’s retoration and attend the CEC of PPP simultaneously .Finally he lost the confidence of his party and the judiciary both, while being in two boats at the same time.

  • Well pejamistri please read my article on the use of illogical emotionality and disuse of dispassionate objectivity in my forthcoming article.By the way I have read everything and let me tell you even in the dissenting judgment Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk does not say that gang rape ever took place.Well if you ascertain your fact through newspapers as you said,I think there remains no need of websites like LUBP.And please do not use unparliamentary language like rapists supporting rapists.Please behave like a gentleman which I think you are!

  • Let me re-assert that I consider the two “judges” and their supporters as the “rapists” in fact worse than the punchayat that ordered the gang rape.
    Your article is full of rubbish and lies. And these lies were used with malice by the two other “rapists” to declare that the other “rapists” were innocent. If your daughter is raped by 999 people and there is a doubt that there were 1000 people on the spot, I would see how you would give the benefit of doubt to 999 people. (and note that William Blackstone did not say 1000, he used the figure 10 but you won’t understand the difference).
    Go back and read the judgement again and write here that:
    1. Shakoor was sodomized by three people and those three persons were then punished by court for this crime.
    2. There was a huge class/social difference between Mukhtara Mai and Mustooi (Mustooi’s of course belonging to your class), and they asserted full pressure on the family of Mukhtara not to report the case. (Read again and find out how many women gang raped by people belonging to your class never report such cases in Pakistan)
    3. Read the judgement again and find out that there were two punchayat’s held one by Mustooi’s and other by Gujjars (Mukhtara Mai’s family), and Mustooi’s punchayat wanted “honor for honor”.
    4. Read again and find out how Molvi (Only molvi that have done something good in Pakista), Amdul Razzaq persuaded family of Mukhtara to report the case.
    5. And of course do read the parts of the “judgment” by two other “judges” which give the graphical sketch of how a women is gang raped in the moon light on a bare floor in Pakistan…. (disgusting and shameful)…

    As I said I know people like yourself are no more curable, the “honorable” “judges” who wrote this “judgement” which you are quoting shamefully , could not be cured despite being in a better position and responsibility, How can I have any hope for you.

    I don’t know if LUBP will benefit from your “dispassionate objectivity”, I do expect though LUBP pages remain sacred and truthful.

  • This article sheds some light on the points highlighted in actual post:

    (http://tribune.com.pk/story/156309/deconstructing-the-scs-mukhtaran-mai-verdict–i/, viewed 28 April 2011)

    some excerpts:

    “Human rights activists are rightfully outraged that the Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the acquittals of the accused in Mukhtaran Mai’s case, except Abdul Khaliq (The State vs Abdul Khaliq, Criminal Appeals No.163 to 171 and S.M. Case No.5/2005, hereinafter referred to as “Judgement”).

    The case offers an opportunity to frame ethical principles that balance the right of the criminal defendant with the rights of victims of crimes.”

    1. Doubting the role of Abdul Razzak, the imam who helped file the complaint: Justice Saqib Nisar’s primary rationale in allowing the appeal and doubting the evidence is based on how he feels Abdul Razzak, an imam, masterminded the case and coerced Mukhtaran’s family to lodge a complaint. It is implied that the imam had a bone to pick with one of the accused (Judgement 30). This premise is refuted logically by the dissenting judge, Justice Nasirul Mulk, who states that Razzak was an imam and: “The Gujjars (Mukhtaran Mai’s tribe) were of a lower social status and… needed the intervention and support of men of some influence…” (Judgement (Dissent) 69).”

    “Finding that the victim complained because she could not marry the rapist: On at least two occasions, Justice Saqib Nisar expresses his suspicion that Mukhtaran Mai lodged an FIR against the eight acquitted by the ATC on grounds that they participated in an unlawful assembly because she was slighted that the marriage arrangement, whereby she would marry the rapist (Abdul Khaliq), and her brother, Shakoor, would marry his sister, Salma (Nasim), fell through.”

  • Well Pejamistri on the one hand you call the judges rapists and consider them worse than the panchayat that allegedly ordered the rape and on the other hand you repeatedly refer to their judgments and ask others to go through those.The court which punished the alleged rapists of Shakoor was right and the trial court which sentenced the alleged rapists of Mukhtaran was right but the High Court and the Supreme Court which aquitted them were wrong and according to you consisted of rapists.I think the language you are using does not speak of someone in his proper frame of mind.And please do not use filthy language if you want to retain the sanctity of the pages of LUBP.And let me tell you I do have a daughter and I am as strongly opposed to violation of women rights as any sane person can be.I also think that the rapist must be subjected to the harshest punishment,but only when his crime is proven beyond doubt.

  • @waseem
    Reading your last comments , it will be below my intellect to directly address you or respond to you. Here is however a good answer to you and your ilks.
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/157815/rapists-have-rights–in-pakistan/

    I seldom quote this but I feel you deserve the following famous quote from me.

    As a software engineer, I envy God , for only God can create two “intelligent” machines so far apart in their intellect…. you and I are poles apart in our intellect!… Dr. Pejamistri

  • Its not just about Mukhtara Mai , the kind of treatment Mukhara Mai had to bear from Justice Saqib Nisar and verdict itself is so scary .It will be very hard for woman to prove her gang rape in future .

    Judgement has set all the wrong precedents .Sadly this verdict will be used as a reference in future.

  • Mr.Pejamistri,Perhaps Pervez is your name and since you repair computers you call yourself mistri.So perhaps in a way you have tried to give a humorous twist to your name and your profession.Maybe you are a humorous character in real life,but what we are talking is not humor.So please discuss your humor with your ilks and get a little serious on this forum.You also perhaps humorously claim to be an intelligent machine.Well this forum is for humans and not for machines no matter how intelligent they are.You are also humorously asking me to read an article published somewhere else as if you are humorously short of further arguments.So Mr.Humor or should I call you an intelligent machine please check your hard disk and the capacity of your RAM.See if your processor is functioning properly.If not reboot it and for God’s sake press ctrl,alt.del.Thanks