DARK REFLECTION: MUKHTARAN MAI'S STORY SHEDS LIGHT ON THE DARKNESS IN PAKISTAN TODAY. The light of her story is refracted through the dark prism of Pakistani and world politics. Her story is not the official one Pakistan wants told to the world. Her nation's leader and "moderate" women politicians alike see in the adoption and support of her story by the rest of the world as an attack on Pakistan and on the Islam practiced there. In the strange legal history of her gang rape case, her attackers morph into the acquitted accused or the accused acquitted. She is now a victim alleged. Her attackers run free, while she is safely under house arrest. She may leave the country, but has no passport with which to do so. The victim of a crime committed by hateful men, she and her motives are attacked by women politicians for the apparent lack of love for her religion and country. A Pakistani novel could be written about this story yet without an ending. A television series is planned. Where is the meaning in her story that twists and in the words that turn?
Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf’s political opponent PPP MNA Sherry Rehman denounced his treatment of Mukhtaran Mai as but a sign of his poor treatment of women at home while trumpeting his enlightened policies abroad. To understand story of Mukhtaran Mai, you really need to read what people in Pakistan are saying. Some do not look so kindly on Mukhtar as Rehman does.
JUNE 24, 2005 LAHORE REHMAN SAID: “It is a sad indictment of the government’s double-dealing that foreign
powers had to intervene to get Mukhtaran’s name off the Exit Control
List. But even today she is being coerced by government officials and
‘moderate’ women ministers to say that she is free to go abroad while
they keep her strictly under their surveillance and physical control.” The PPP legislator said instead of turning its attention to curbing
injustices done to women in society, the government was focusing its
energies in sloppy spin-doctoring about Pakistani NGOs and the utility
of sweeping such episodes under the rug. Ms Sherry said Gen Musharraf himself admitted to the instructions he
gave preventing Mukhtaran’s foreign travel or free movement. “What he
does not realize is that the quantum and quality of official lies has
become more of an embarrassment than anything that Mukhtaran would have
said at a private citizens’ forum anywhere in the world.” “To pretend that Mukhtaran is not a symbol of courage and resistance for Pakistani women is tantamount to turning away from a history of commitments made by the state to its oppressed underclass.”
"Moderate" women politicians in Pakistan are being used by Musharraf to attack Mukhtaran and her supporters. Mukhtaran's fate melds with a defense of Pakistan and of Islam, powerful forces in a country on the edge of the West, looking in the door, but standing in place.
ISLAMABAD, June 22 (Online): MNA, Aasia Azeem has alleged that a US based organization has disbursed $ 1.33 Lakh to gang rape victim Mukhtaran Mai and the elements who have staged demonstration in US are out to defame Pakistan and Islam. --snip-- She held that NGOs which advertise all over the world any case of rape in the country are also committing heinous crime in the name of woman rights. --snip-- She warned that some anti-state elements were working in the guise of NGOs and they were striving to lead Pakistani society to disorder and chaos so that the country is transformed into a secular society. Mukhtaran Mai should avoid defaming the country, she stressed. [PAKISTAN TRIBUNE] State minister for health, Shahnaz Sheikh questioned why the foreign countries are interfering in this case. They have no right to interfere in the internal affairs of Pakistan, she added. [PAKISTAN TRIBUNE]
The Pakistan Tribune Online offers insight into the twists of fate and the turn of words iin the story of Murkhtaran Mai. If we know one thing about Murkhtar's case, we know everything and nothing. What words mean depends on who says them. How a country is seen and whether a woman lives free will be determined by who has the last and loudest word. Here is a brief synopsis of recent events: