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Last Updated: Friday, 21 October 2005, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Gang rape victim 'to visit US'
Mukhtar Mai after the Supreme Court ruling
Ms Mai says she will highlight the plight of quake victims
Pakistan gang rape victim Mukhtar Mai says she will go soon to the US to receive an award from a local magazine.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had banned her from travelling abroad because he feared her visit might "tarnish" Pakistan's image.

Ms Mai says she will also use the occasion to highlight the plight of the earthquake victims in Pakistan.

Ms Mai shot to world attention after her rape in 2002, allegedly on the order of a village council.

'Motivate'

Ms Mai says she has been invited to the US by a magazine, Glamour, for an award ceremony in November to honour those who have struggled for the cause of women
"I am a Pakistani and I have no intention of tarnishing the country's image
Mukhtar Mai

She told the BBC Urdu service that she has already obtained a US visa.

"I shall go if the government does not prevent me from travelling abroad," she said.

She said she came to know about the award from the US embassy this week.

"I will use this occasion to highlight the plight of quake victims in Pakistan and also motivate the Americans and the Pakistanis staying there to contribute and raise funds for them," Ms Mai said.

Earlier this year President Musharraf barred her from travelling abroad - a move that provoked widespread criticism.

"I am a Pakistani and I have no intention of tarnishing the country's image. But I will speak on the plight of women in rural areas," she told Reuters news agency.

Ms Mai has an appeal pending in the Pakistan's Supreme Court against a high court order to free 13 men accused of involvement in her rape.

Since her highly publicised rape three years ago, she has become an icon in the campaign for women's justice in conservative Pakistan.

Critics of Pakistan's judicial system and social systems say the Mukhtar Mai case is an example of appalling treatment often handed out to women, particularly in feudal, rural areas.

Her rape was allegedly ordered by a village council as a punishment for a misdemeanour blamed on her brother.


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