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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 June 2005, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Rape victim cannot travel abroad
Mukhtar Mai
Mukhtar Mai wants the restrictions lifted
The Pakistan government has confirmed that a victim of a notorious gang rape is on a special list of people who are not allowed to travel abroad.

Mukhtar Mai, raped allegedly on the orders of a tribal council in 2002, has demanded the restrictions be lifted.

"We want her case to be processed and resolved first," junior interior minister Shehzad Wasim said.

On Friday a court ordered that 12 men imprisoned in connection with the case must be released by Monday.

Ms Mai's name suddenly appeared on the "exit control list" earlier this month.

Immigration officers in Karachi say they have received instructions to stop her if she tries to travel abroad.

Ms Mai has been invited by human rights group Amnesty International to visit the United States.

Pakistan's opposition says that she is being prevented from travelling abroad because the government believes any such visit would hurt the country's image.

International focus

Ms Mai was gang raped allegedly on the orders of a tribal council to punish a crime attributed to her brother.

The case brought women's rights in Pakistan under international focus.

It has become bogged down in a number of appeals and counter-appeals over the men's guilt.

At present 12 men are behind bars following a ruling by the Punjab provincial government in March that ordered their detention for 90 days.

That period ends on Monday and the Lahore High Court ruled on Friday that there were no grounds for extending their detention.

Ms Mai has said she will try to get the authorities to prevent the men's release.

This is the latest twist in a number of legal developments:

  • 2002: Six men sentenced to death, eight acquitted

  • March 2005: Lahore High Court acquits five men, and reduces death sentence on sixth to life in prison

  • March 2005: Sharia court suspends Lahore High Court decision

  • March 2005: Prime Minister Aziz orders re-arrest of four of the accused

  • March 2005: Punjab government arrests 12 men originally implicated in case

  • June 2005: Lahore High Court says 12 men must be released

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