[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 07:08 GMT 08:08 UK
Mukhtar Mai: 'Against all odds'
Pakistan rape victim Mukhtar Mai has been in the international spotlight as a result of her campaign to seek justice for herself and other women in Pakistan.

Mukhtar Mai
Mukhtar Mai says her goal is to fight injustice with knowledge

She has been writing a blog for the BBC's Urdu website with the assistance of the BBC's Nadeem Saeed. Here is the second in a series of extracts.

16 July 2006

It was a Sunday and in the morning we had organised a function at my school for an American visitor.

The children had organised some activities - recitation from the holy Koran, national songs, and a drama.

One thing that always lifts my spirits is when children from my school perform well.

17 July 2006

My friend Naseem and I went to Lahore to meet my lawyer and discuss my next appearance in court.

I have no political ambitions. My goal is to fight injustice with the help of knowledge
Mukhtar Mai

The retrial of five men accused of raping Mukhtar Mai is pending. The Supreme Court suspended the acquittals of the five men in June last year.

In the evening we also met former MP Begum Atiya Inayatullah. She is a kind lady.

We requested her to ask the government of Punjab to provide financial assistance to Shamshad Bibi for treatment.

In her last blog Mukhtar Mai told the story of Shamshad Bibi who was allegedly gang-raped and thrown down a well. She is now bed-ridden.

Let's see what happens. I can't say whether the government will do something about it.

19 July 2006

I met the editor of an Urdu newspaper, who is sick these days.

I stayed with him for a few hours and we discussed my work. He advised me to beware of the tricks politicians play.

I reiterated that I have no political ambitions. My goal is to fight injustice with the help of knowledge.

'Women are not safe even in their graves'

21 July 2006

We came back from Lahore this evening and were really tired. We went to sleep a bit early but at midnight my mobile phone rang.

Sakina Mai had died a natural death. On the night of her burial four men of a rival tribe dug her body out and allegedly desecrated it
Mukhtar Mai

It was the city correspondent of an Urdu newspaper calling from a village in the district of Rahim Yar Khan.

It wasn't good news.

I gave the phone to Naseem to note down the details of what the correspondent had to say.

While Naseem was on the phone I could see her getting anxious. When she put the phone down, she narrated a terrible tale.

According to the correspondent a woman's body had been taken out of her grave, violated and thrown out in the open.

Sakina Mai had died a natural death. On the night of her burial four men of a rival tribe dug her body out and allegedly desecrated it.

At dawn when the villagers saw the body, they were furious.

But the police hushed up the matter by saying that it was a shameful incident and wouldn't reflect well on the woman's family.

So the body was again given a bath and re-buried without any post-mortem.

Soon after that many villagers took to the streets and asked the police to file a case against the accused and begin an investigation.

I immediately contacted the head of the police station in that district and also spoke with the District Police Officer but both told me that they hadn't heard about the incident.

I think I know why. The men who had reportedly committed the crime belong to a very powerful tribe and they hold important positions in the district administration.

I also phoned Begum Atiya Inayatullah and told her how bad the situation had become.

Women are not safe even in their graves.

She helped us and soon a case was registered and the accused were arrested.

I don't know what will happen.

'To fight against all odds'

22 July 2006

I have some guests over from the US. I took them to a local wedding, just for the experience of it. We came back late in the evening.

An inspector from the local police station was waiting for me when we got back.

He asked me to sign a letter which said that police would not be able to provide me more than one personal security guard in future. I didn't sign the letter.

My guests left by noon, after which I kept answering phone calls and meeting visitors.

So many people visit and call me every day seeking help. They ask me if I could ask President Musharraf or the prime minister to help them.

I keep telling them that I am a very ordinary woman and do not have influence with government officials.

I only know one thing and that is how to fight against all odds.

25 July 2006

At noon I went to pick up Shamshad Bibi (the girl with the broken backbone) and took her to Multan (a nearby city).

We saw a doctor who was also disturbed to see the bad state Shamshad is in. The doctor promised to treat her as best as she could.

26 July 2006

My sister, Jamal, died this day seven years ago. She had cancer.

How long will women go on making compromises, being forced into marriages they are not happy with?
Mukhtar Mai

I kept thinking about her all day, about her suffering and her pain.

When I think how helpless I was, I feel really depressed.

I was still engrossed in my thoughts when my brother Abdul Shakoor came and told me that our cousin Nasreen had attempted suicide.

I immediately arranged for her to go to the nearest hospital.

Soon I was again lost in my thoughts.

How long will women go on making compromises, being forced into marriages they are not happy with?

Why are daughters not asked about what they want, how they want to lead their lives and with whom?

If you would like to send a comment about this story you can use the form below.


Name
Your E-mail address
Country
Comments

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.





RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific