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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Pakistan rape case controversy: Your views
Mukhtar Mai
What effect will the appeal in the Pakistan gang rape case have on women's justice?

Pakistan's Supreme Court has suspended the acquittals of five men convicted of a notorious gang rape case that has received worldwide attention.

A village council in Punjab allegedly ordered the rape of Mukhtar Mai in 2002 because her younger brother was seen with a woman from another tribe.

The Supreme Court has now said it will retry the men although the date of new trial has yet to be fixed.

What do you think of the decision by the Pakistan Supreme Court? What impact do you think Mukhtar Mai's decision to speak out has had on women's justice in Pakistan? Will it encourage others to come forward in so-called "honour" cases?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

I respect the fact that certain cultures have practices that are unfamiliar and seem strange to others However, there are certain levels of decency, respect and basic rights that should be available to all humans living on this planet. What has happened to this women is a terrible crime and the government of Pakistan now has the duty to prove it is a modern and civilized country by punishing those responsible.
Gregory, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

There are many, many more women still facing such situations mainly in remote areas
Saima Arif, Lahore, Pakistan
Mukhtar Mai is not the only rape victim in Pakistan. There are many, many more women still facing such situations mainly in remote areas of Pakistan (and in other third world countries like India, Bangladesh etc), which are unable to raise their voices and take a stand in such circumstances. These women are still looking for justice. Active NGO's should adopt a strategy to locate such victims of sexual violence.
Saima Arif, Lahore, Pakistan

It is typical Kangaroo justice where courts are jumping to verdicts in haphazard manner. There is no denying that after getting this much attention this case has become a hot potato to handle for the judges. In such an environment, I am sure another miscarriage is about happen. If the court acquits the accused on the grounds of insufficient evidence then there will be an outcry, while if the court feels under pressure from the government it might convict then everybody feel good about themselves. The result is that real issues like inefficiency of police, corruption and faulty justice system will again be brushed under the carpet.
Aamir Ilyas, Lund, Sweden

Although this is a huge step for women's rights in Pakistan, I believe that the effects of the appeal will last only as long as the international interest remains.
Sibusisiwe Nkomo, Texas, U.S.

As a woman, I am horrified of such sick mentalities. As a Muslim, I am disgusted that such a people consider themselves people of the book. I hope the good people of America will not judge the peaceful and balanced religion of Islam because of these sick men. Our prophet's first wife is a symbol for strength and a woman's rightful place in society.
Agisella, McLean USA

Women are entitled to rights regardless of religion, they have been treated like chattels for too long in Asia and Middle East. It's very brave for her to speak out and the men involved should be punished as they would in the West.
Barbara A Marshall, Ipswich UK

If women victims like Ms Mai come forward and speak up, I'm sure the tribal councils will think twice before giving outrageous verdicts.
Venkat Maruthamuthu, Urbana, IL, USA

Mukhtar Mai is a symbol of human courage and perseverance. Unlike other victims of sexual violence, here is a remarkable woman who has chosen to take a stand against the mistreatment meted out to her, at a time when millions of other women in the same predicament chose to suffer in silence. Her remarkable story and tireless activism represents the way forwards for victims of violence everywhere.
Helen Smith, Philadelphia

Mukhtar Mai has just proved that women can make a great difference in the world dominated by men
Madan, USA
Mukhtar Mai has just proved that women can make a great difference in the world dominated by men. Tribal system is to be blamed for this kind of humiliation bestowed upon Ms Mai. But kudus to her, she has done something which not many have dared in Pakistan. Normally rapes, honour killings go unreported, these are social evil and need to be stopped.
Madan, USA

It is a small step in the right direction but a big gain for oppressed women of Pakistan.
Tito, Jacksonville, USA

I think that this is a test case to prove that Pakistani people and government really respect woman. The accused should be given an exemplary punishment for others to learn a lesson from it
Tahir Mansoor, Canterbury, UK

What kind of court would set those free who committed this terrible crime in the first place, what justification is there for their acquittal? Lets hope Pakistan's Supreme Court can finally deliver justice for Mukhtar Mai and may she continue to be such a positive figure for women's rights in the Islamic world.
Sandeep, Herts, UK

What happened to Mai was horrible, and deplorable, but to put things in perspective, there were 90,000 reported rape cases in US during 2000. According to an estimate, only one in five rape cases are reported in USA. While we should all condemn this terrible act, let us be careful to distinguish between the real condemnation and Pakistan bashing and maligning attempts.
Aaad Faizi, Mountain View, CA, USA

She is a role model for women who have suffered in silence
Kathy Sommers, Milwaukee, WI, USA
I sincerely hope that finally, women will be given some justice in Pakistan and other Muslim countries. She is a very brave woman to go against tribal barbarism and prevail, which I believe she will do. She may not really want to be but she is a role model for women who have suffered in silence.
Kathy Sommers, Milwaukee, WI, USA

This is a story of an extraordinary woman of an extra ordinary situation. She has the courage to stand against all the injustice against the women in a civilized society which is very unthinkable in today's society. I think people of Pakistan and Pakistan judiciary system should learn from her a lot.
Fuad Eldin, Calgary, Canada

It is important to make clear that the atrocity inflicted upon Mukhtar Mai has nothing to do with religion. Islam considers rape a capital offence. These social customs prevalent in many tribal areas are patriarchal in nature where women are treated as no more than chattels. Mukhtar Mai is a heroine of our times. Her courage in the most difficult of circumstances is an inspiration to all downtrodden people wherever they are.
Kamal, London, England

I really admire Ms Mai's courageous stand. I hope this case will be the beginning of a change of attitudes and procedures and respect for women in Pakistan. I hope other women will come forward to demand the changes that are required. You have the support of global citizens.
Asghar Qazi, Karachi, Pakistan

There are women whom I have known in the West who have been reluctant to step forward after getting violated. They have said that they're uncertain if justice will get served; that they only stand to lose more in the public's eye. Hence, Mukhtar Mai's courage is admirable.
Imran Pirwani, Karachi, Pakistan

Rape in many parts of the world is not treated seriously enough. In Bolivia there are similar problems. I am glad this woman has stood up for justice, I only hope that she will be able to return to a normal life after all this.
John West, La Paz, Bolivia

What a brave woman. Not only has she stood up for herself against the men who did this terrible act, she also risked alienating herself from her own village and her own family by going against the wisdom of the elders. Pakistan should be proud that it has some such strong willed and full-hearted people there, prepared to do the right thing against all the odds. We should all feel humble.
Gaynor, UK

The media attention will give strength to women in other parts of the world
Girish Shenoy, Detroit, USA
What happened to Mukhtar Mai was a horror. However, if you look at the positive side (if there is something like positive side in such a case): the media attention will give strength to women in other parts of the world like Africa/India etc. to stand up against such brutality. The media has done a good job, now it the time for citizens to help Mukhtar Mai.
Girish Shenoy, Detroit, USA

Mukhtar Mai's courage and strength gives hope to women and men who are survivors of sexual assault and rape. Rape is a serious crime, not only against the victim, but it's a dastardly crime against humanity. Hopefully Mai's case will serve as a catalyst in seeking justice and proper punishment for other cases of rape around the world.
Sabrina, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Ms Mukhtar Mai has set a very good example to all the women in South Asia by speaking out, who fear to report such crimes for the fear of being dishonoured. Now the law has to do its part of bringing justice to her and that will encourage others to come forward.
Arun Kotte, Memphis TN USA/ India

Ms Mai has been humiliated in the worst possible ways. The fact that she has retained her strength and dignity as justice was meted out could have actually been a testament to the Pakistani culture. The government need not fear Ms Mai bringing shame upon it. It has already shamed itself. God bless Ms Mai a thousand times over.
Sharon, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

I hope that Ms Mai's case will not only bring her justice but also open the door for all of those suffering at the hands of these honour fearing tribal leaders. Where is the honour in disgracing another human being? Do they not even fear God.
Amir, Houston, Texas

Ms. Mai's courage should be a beacon for all citizens of the world
Gail, Montana, USA
Ms Mai's courage should be a beacon for all citizens of the world. I applaud Ms Mai's fight for dignity and truth and hope that her cause will bring the world's attention to the gross injustices suffered by women in Pakistan and other countries. At a time when human rights are being trampled the world over, we must stop the degradation and dishonour of peoples everywhere and stand up to tyranny and abuse or we are doomed as a civilization.
Gail, Montana, USA

The gang rape was a horrendous crime that should be dealt with according to the law. However, this does not represent the entire social system of Pakistan. Mukhtaran Mai is being given full protection by the government. I do not see a need for the "NGO's" to blow the issue out of proportions. I believe the culprits will be punished as they deserve according to the law. Let's not put this as a label on the South Asian culture.
Farhan Bhaba, New Jersey, USA

This case has become a daily reoccurrence in the media and I think that this has given an opportunity to anti-Pakistan elements to twist and turn this in order to bring bad name to this country. These inhumane and disturbing acts are not confined to Pakistan but in Pakistan these get highlighted while in other countries they are brushed under the carpet. The government should be lauded for their support to the victim.
Bash, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Pakistan is a still in tug of war between forward thinking Muslim and that the Taleban type fundamentalists. Let's hope my home country goes forward and does justice to this injustice.
Wasim Raza, Dearborn, MI, USA

The court's ruling against Ms Mai has proven, yet again, that Pakistan has evolved only for name
Benish, Washington

For the first time, I'm disgusted with myself for being a Pakistani who supports President Musharraf. By barring Ms Mai from leaving the country - and now her own house - the Pakistani government has again reverted back to its old role of treating women as lower entities. The court's ruling against Ms Mai has proven, yet again, that Pakistan has evolved only for name - and there as been no internal improvement in the country when it comes to the treatment of women. And yet, we are told that there is no oppression, there are no double standards, and the president is supporting the women of the world. If this is his support, Ms Mai was better off without it.
Benish, Washington, DC, USA

This shows what type of a nation Pakistan is, where women's rights are not only completely ignored but utterly suppressed. The whole world should ostracize countries like Pakistan and governments run by presidents like Musharraf.
Asif Iqbal, Edison, USA

Thanks to Ms Mai who spoke out. Her decision will encourage other women as well. Unfortunately it is extremely hard to hear such news although there are thousands of such cases in Pakistan.
Samak, Germany

This case is not about religion and culture and so-called "honour" cases but about human dignity. I applaud Mukhtar Mai's decision to speak out and I hope others will speak out as well.
Rommel, Washington, DC, USA

As long as this system exists, there will be many such cases
Mohsin, Toronto, Canada
The case of Mukhtar Mai brings to light the system followed in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Even if her attackers are punished, what we need to ask is will it stop the tribal system from being the law? The root of such problems is the tribal system run by the land lords of these areas. As long as this system exists, there will be many such cases and one in a million will be reported to the public eye.
Mohsin, Toronto, Canada

To Mohsin, Toronto, Canada. I regret to say that 99% of these rape related incidents happen in the so-called developed provinces (Punjab & Sindh) of Pakistan. Thousands of Mukhtar Mai's have been silenced unspoken. It has nothing to do with tribal areas.
Azam Khan, Washington DC, USA

I think these acts of brutality should not go unpunished, these people should receive justice and it should be a lesson to every person on earth.
loha, NY, USA

Ms Mai's case will be an example for other women in the same situation. A few years ago in India, a woman decided to stand up against the injustices of the dowry system. She turned in her husband to the police on the day of the marriage because of his demands for dowry. She became a national icon and set a precedent for other women. Similarly in this case, the fact that Ms Mai has become an international icon will give courage and hope to those thousands of other women who have suffered silently. Someone, somewhere, has to take the first step!
Aarsi Sagar, Manila, Philippines

She brings hope to thousands of women in Pakistan
Marium, Toronto, Canada
In a country where women's rights have a long way to go, I find Ms Mai very courageous to have come forward with her devastating rape case. She brings hope to thousands of women in Pakistan who are constant victims of domestic abuse and honour cases. By standing up for her fundamental and constitutional rights, Ms Mai is bringing hope to the embarrassing state of women's rights in Pakistan today. Her case also helps to demonstrate the absolute lack of commitment of the Pakistani government to improve conditions for women.
Marium, Toronto, Canada

Let this be a big deal, let this be an example for the future. This is not the first time, but I hope after the outcome of this trial, the perpetrators think twice about their actions. I commend you lady, and hope you find some peace in the justice you so-deservingly wait for. Your well wisher.
Oz Aslam, Chicago, USA

It is sickening to hear a case like that. Whoever ordered the rape should be brought to justice and Ms Mai should be lauded for her courage in divulging this crime against humanity. The news shocks not only women, but the human race.
R. Chan, Hong Kong

Mukhtar Mai's courage and leadership will offer a beacon of hope to oppressed women everywhere. Sadly the horrific abuse endured by Ms Mai is not uncommon or unique to the women of Pakistan.
Linda, Toronto, Canada




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