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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 September 2005, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Musharraf: 'No need to apologise'
Women protesters in Karachi
Campaigners say Musharraf is not firm on abuse of women
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has denied that he accused rape victims of using their situation to make money in a newspaper interview.

But, one of the authors of Tuesday's article in the Washington Post told the BBC News website that the president had been quoted "verbatim" in the article.

The article quoted Gen Musharraf as saying that rape had become a "moneymaking concern" in Pakistan.

Women's groups held protests in Pakistan on Friday against the remarks.

During a press conference at the offices of Time magazine, Gen Musharraf said that he was not insensitive enough to accuse raped women of using their situation to make money.

He said the newspaper had misinterpreted what he had said and had misquoted him.

'Verbatim'

But Glenn Kessler, co-author of the Washington Post article, told the BBC News website: "The president's comments were tape recorded and they were quoted verbatim and in context."

Mukhtar Mai after her Supreme Court ruling
Mukhtar Mai told the BBC that no woman could subject herself to rape to make money
"The article did not try to sensationalise the quotes and in fact they were not the main focus of the article," he said.

In the second half of the article, Musharraf is quoted as saying "You must understand the environment in Pakistan. This has become a moneymaking concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped."

He made the comments in the context of a question about the treatment of high-profile rape victim Mukhtar Mai.

The Women's Action Forum in Pakistan described the president's reported comments as "outrageous".

'Not unique'

Last week President Musharraf told a conference on violence against women in Islamabad that Pakistan should not be singled out for its treatment of women.

He also lashed out at rights groups for their role in highlighting cases such as Ms Mai's outside the country. Leading rights groups called the conference a "farce".

The president's critics say he pays only lip service to cracking down on the abuse of women, hundreds of whom are raped and murdered every year in so-called honour cases in Pakistan.

Despite government protestations that it is doing much to help women, many of those who try to register cases of rape and violence find it as hard as ever to do so, campaigners say.




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