Stories about Mukhtaran Mai

Jami’s bravery has opened the doors for a much needed conversation about rape

Sexual harassment or abuse is a very difficult topic to discuss, especially in a country that still heavily indulges in victim-blaming. Despite the arrival of the MeToo movement in Pakistan, we are still having a tough time believing victims and holding perpetrators accountable, even in clear cut cases like the Mukhtaran Mai case. Things became more convoluted recently after Professor Afzal Mehmood, a lecturer at Government MAO College, committed suicide after he was wrongfully accused of sexual harassment. Those who oppose the MeToo movement used this incident to further their own agenda. As a result, many victims were afraid that the brief ...

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Divided by politics 70 years ago, India and Pakistan are still united by the cancer of rape

Imagine being a young woman who steps out of her house late at night. You hang around with friends, partake in merrymaking that stretches deep into the night, and then safely return home in the morning. There isn’t an ounce of worry in your mind as you go about this. Being wary of your surroundings never crosses your mind, and looking out for unwanted stares doesn’t either. You feel secure, safe and sound. If you’re living in modern day India or Pakistan, this scenario would never happen. Divided by politics 70 years ago, they are still united by the cancer ...

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#ETBlogsPicks 21 amazing women this International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day, let’s remind our little girls that it’s not about being princesses, and damsels in distress. Let’s tell them instead that they should foster to be literary legends, doctors, lawyers, painters, and dreamers. Let’s teach them to be believers in themselves as opposed to believers in happily ever afters. And to show them how they can achieve their dreams, we will show them all the beautiful, inspirational women Pakistan has: Today, we want to honour the following ...

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Why is the jirga system being given constitutional cover in Pakistan?

As if we didn’t have enough problems of our own, the National Assembly has recently given constitutional cover to the jirga system which threatens to destroy the justice system in the country. I thought a system so biased against women would surely not find any support among the masses. I did some research and spoke to various people and discovered, to my surprise, that the jirga system is indeed very popular in those parts of the country where it is practiced. “Last year, a man killed my brother,” said one of my workers. “Going to the courts would have taken a long time and a lot of ...

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Does it matter why they asked her to walk the catwalk?

The decision of our fashion icons Frieha Altaf and Rozina Munib to have Mukhtaran Mai walk the catwalk for Fashion Pakistan Week must definitely have caused numerous conflicting questions. To many it seems like the designers have done it for publicity and to further an image of their own benevolence. But then it is the end that has to be considered, rather than the means to the end. Although the rape victim taking to the catwalk has created a lot of ripples in the fashion scene both domestically and internationally, at the end of the day, Mukhtaran’s debut as ...

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Does it arouse you to watch someone getting raped, India?

Real videos of rape are being sold in Uttar Pradesh, India. For Rs20 to Rs300. No, this is not a joke. Really think about that for a second. The person you know or heard of, that girl? Who got raped? Yes, the video is of her being raped. Again. And again and again. By not one, not two but four people. Four people who take turns holding the shoddy camera phone with which they are recording their victim being torn apart – physically and mentally. They are clawing at her clothes, biting parts of skin that can be seen. Biting hard, until the ...

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The son of an MPA raped me: Will I not get justice?

Last Friday night, Sofia Shahid, a woman from Bhatti Colony in Rahim Yar Khan, filed a report with the Saddar Khanpur Police alleging that she had been raped by Qamar Khan Rind, the son of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) MPA Nawaz Khan Rind. Ms Shahid was interviewed by various local news channels while she was at the police station. She described how she was kidnapped from her house (along with her son) and raped by Qamar while his accomplices stood by. She also told reporters that the police were not cooperating with her and were yet to register her complaint. While this matter will hopefully ...

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Women, the stuff maulvi nightmares are made of

Pakistanis are extremely resourceful people. We work with what we get. When life gave us the proverbial lemons in the guise of terrorism and religious extremism, we rose to the occasion by coining the term ‘liberal extremists’ to protect our social fabric from the menace of tolerance, human rights, and other Jewish conspiracies. The ‘liberal extremist’ is the right-wing’s brilliant attempt at tapping into the powerful global constituency against violence and extremism in a post 9/11 world. Someone recently said that ‘when you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression’. In the case of Pakistan, when you have political ...

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In Pakistan, we have 13-year-old rape victims

The terrible news of a 13-year-old girl, raped and impregnated by her teacher in Larkana, Sindh, breaks the heart over and over again. The only good thing about this is that the teacher has been arrested, and has confessed to the crime (now that the child is four months pregnant). A powerful essay talks about how nobody in the government has taken notice of this case. Worse, the community blames the victim’s family for not protecting her “honour”. Supposedly they should have protected her “honour” by either never letting her go to school in the first place, or by killing her as soon as they ...

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YOU are perpetuating rape-culture and don’t even know it yet

For far too long we have subjected women, particularly victims of sexual violence, to our ignorance and insensitivity ingrained in our speech, linguistics, culture and even laws. The sad fact is that even after the promulgation of the Women Protection Act 2006, efforts still need to be made to challenge the horrendous rape culture we are embroiled in. A rape victim is someone who has been subjected to a violent, non-consensual and invasive violation of her body, reducing her to a mere object of satisfaction, lust and vulnerability. The marks of the crime are far more than physical. Many victims consider ending their ...

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