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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Pakistan gang rape victim in US
Mukhtar Mai
Ms Mai says she has no plans to stay in the US
Pakistan gang rape victim Mukhtar Mai has arrived in the United States to receive an award from former US President Bill Clinton.

Mukhtar Mai will be one of 12 women to receive the award from a local magazine in the US.

Ms Mai said she would use the occasion to highlight the plight of quake victims in Pakistan.

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

Earlier this year, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf banned her from travelling abroad because he feared her visit might "tarnish" Pakistan's image.

There was widespread condemnation of President Musharraf last month, when he was quoted in The Washington Post newspaper as saying that rape had become a money-making concern.

Plans to return

Ms Mai has been invited to the US by Glamour magazine for the award ceremony to honour those who have struggled for the cause of women.

Actress Catherine Zeta-Zones will also be given this award this year. Past winners of the award include US Senator Hillary Clinton, the former president's wife, and former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.

Ms Mai told the BBC Urdu service last week that she would urge Americans and Pakistanis staying there to contribute and raise funds for the victims of the 8 October earthquake.

She also said she had no plans to stay in the US.

"I am born Pakistani and prefer to live in my own country ... I am going to America to receive my award and will get back soon after," she told the Associated Press 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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