Sunday, April 24, 2011

cHindu stands up for women's rights in Pakistan

The story of Mukhtaran Mai of Pakistan is a tragic tale showing to the world the pitiable conditions of women there and morass of cultural problems. That is just the tip of the iceberg. The lack of political will and judicial backbone to take this case and punish the rapists has exposed what Pakistan really stands for.

But this extraordinarily brave woman, unlettered at the time of the monstrous crime, decided to defy societal taboos to take her attackers to court. It is disappointing that Pakistan's highest court has ruled against her. On April 21, a three-judge bench upheld, by a majority of two to one, the Lahore High Court's acquittal of five men accused of the rape (while confirming the life sentence to a sixth) on the ground of insufficient evidence. The verdict is unsettling for several reasons. In most of South Asia, for reasons that are well known, it is never easy for a woman to make a formal complaint of rape.

It is a good sign to see cHindu expose the soft underbelly that passes for Pakistan's judicial system.
The same system which beats up minorities for blasphemy:
This verdict sets the bar for evidence so high — in contrast are the evidentiary requirements in a blasphemy case — that it can only act as further discouragement to rape victims seeking justice.

We expect to see more such pieces of investigative journalism by cHindu and see it in action with NGO's in Pakistan to fight for the rights of those who deserve more than the Islamic tinpot bestows.

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