Islamabad: The US envoy to Pakistan has
joined civil society groups in calling on the government to
ensure the safety of Mukhtar Mai, who shot to prominence for
her campaign to bring to justice the men who gang-raped her,
following the Supreme Court`s verdict freeing most of those
accused of raping her.
"Following the release of those accused of gang rape,
I am disappointed for Mukhtar Mai and concerned for the rights
of women in Pakistan," Ambassador Cameron Munter said in a
statement issued by the US Embassy.
"I call on the government of Pakistan to ensure
Mukhtar Mai’s safety. As the Supreme Court said in its
judgment, `violating the sanctity and chastity of a woman is a
sordid, despicable, squalid act, which is considered abhorrent
in any civilized society`," he said.
Munter said he admired Mukhtar Mai`s courage for
speaking up about the crime committed against her and her work
to inspire and educate Pakistani women about their fundamental
Thirteen men accused of involvement in the 2002
gang-rape of Mukhtar Mai have been freed from a prison in
Punjab province after their acquittal by the Lahore High Court
was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Mukhtar Mai had challenged the High Court`s order in
application filed in the Supreme Court. The apex court upheld
the High Court’s decision last week and said the accused
should be freed if they were not wanted in any other cases.
Following criticism of the apex court`s verdict by
rights activists and Mukhtar Mai`s remarks that she feared for
her life, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the government
will provide security and legal assistance to her.