Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 28 April 2005

Pakistan: Mukhtar Mai - a rape victim in search of justice

DESPITE ALL the claims of the present Musharraf regime, women are still facing a horrific situation in Pakistan.

Rukhsana Manzoor, Lahore, Socialist Movement Pakistan (CWI in Pakistan)

Domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, inequality, injustice, and discrimination are the realities of everyday life. Conditions are especially dreadful in the feudal and tribal areas.

On 3 March 2005, the Lahore High Court Multan Bench shocked the whole nation with its verdict on the case of a young woman, Mukhtar Mai, who was raped. The court freed five men convicted of rape by the Anti-Terrorist Court.

According to the judges, the evidence failed to prove that gang-rape actually took place and the counsel for the victim could not prove that a Panchayat (local elders council) was even remotely implicated in this dreadful act. The 'learned' judges also criticised the police for incorrect investigation and inefficiency.

This verdict has reminded people throughout Pakistan once again of this barbaric incident, in which four men gang-raped 35-year old Mukhtar Mai for hours on the orders of a Panchayat in Meer Wala village in the district of Muzzafar Gar in Southern Punjab in June 2002.

Mukhtar was working in her house, when the Panchayat ordered her father to bring her to them to "apologise" on behalf of her brother who was accused of having an affair with the daughter of a rich, feudal family. When she was brought to the Panchayat, the village elders ordered her to be raped in order to restore the 'pride' and 'honour' of the family who brought the case.

This case caught the attention of the international media and human rights organisations, which forced the government to take action against the accused and the members of the Panchayat. The Anti-Terrorist Court passed a death sentence on the six accused.

Widespread violence

The Seraiki-speaking belt of Southern Punjab is notorious for these incidents and horrific crimes against women, particularly those from a poor background.

Three months ago, in another district of South Punjab called Vehari, 13 men raped a girl for similar reasons given for the action taken against Mukhtar Mai.

According to police records, 580 women were raped in the first six months of 2004 in Southern Punjab. 24 were maimed by acid attacks, 634 abducted and sexually molested and 115 were killed after rape or during resistance against attack. These are just the reported cases - the vast majority of cases are of course never brought to the police.

Socialist Movement Pakistan (SMP) Central Committee member and a peasant leader Dr. Aashiq Zafar Bhatti has been at the forefront of the struggle to get justice in this case and others.

He was among the few courageous people, who raised his voice in support of Mukhtar Mai from the platform of AIMS Organisation (a civil society organization working against domestic and sexual violence against women). He mobilised hundreds of people, especially women, against the verdict of the High Court.

The Socialist Movement Pakistan, with the help of other organizations, organised a seminar and demonstration in which 500 people participated, the majority of whom were women. Some NGOs organised a protest rally in Multan on 7 March, in which Socialist Movement members participated.

SMP campaign

When they raised the issue and criticised the court verdict, the High Court judge issued a contempt of court notice to 14 of the participants, which also included two SMP members. Despite that contempt notice, SMP members organised an International Women's Day seminar on 8 March in Jatoi. More than 250 women participated in this seminar.

SMP members played a key role in organising a public meeting in front of Mukhtar Mai's house in Meer Walla, Jatoi, to show solidarity and support with her. More than 4,000 people were mobilised for this public meeting. This meeting was covered widely by the international and national media.

SMP members also sold copies of their paper, The Socialist, and other material. The SMP is the only left organisation directly involved in this campaign and also campaigning against the Hudood Laws (oppressive, discrimatory laws against women) - for example SMP members in Muzafar Gar organised a march and seminar against these laws on 16 March in which 300 people participated.

Despite having small forces, the SMP is playing a vital role on the issues of women, poor farmers and other oppressed sections of society in this very underdeveloped and feudal-dominated area.

This rape case has exposed the whole judicial system and the corrupt practices of the police and local influential feudal lords. There is no safe future on the basis of capitalism and feudalism for working class women in Pakistan. The overthrow of this rotten system is urgent. Only socialism can provide a way forward for women, workers and poor peasantry of Pakistan.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 28 April 2005:

Vote Socialist on 5 May

Fighting the jobs massacre in Birmingham

Election Feature

Standing for socialism in Scotland

Leicester NHS phone in - socialists v. the rest

Needed - a new party for working people

Big business scuppers Jamie's school dinners

Britain's so-called 'booming economy'

Mukhtar Mai - a rape victim in search of justice in Pakistan

End world poverty

Why we celebrate May Day

Stalinism, socialism and capitalism

Labour's the problem not the answer

Usdaw - Need for change at the top


Home   |   The Socialist 28 April 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleHackney Socialist Party: 70 years since India-Pakistan partition

triangleInternational Women's Day: taking action against capitalist oppression


triangle1967 Abortion Act reflected social changes

triangleLessons from the Russian revolution for LGBT+ struggle today

triangleWomen and austerity - scrap the 'rape clause'

triangleBenefits workers oppose 'rape clause' and two-child limit


triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: The rise of Militant - lessons from our history

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz


triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: The work of CWI members around the world


triangleFighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle





Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict



A world in crisis, ripe for revolution



Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse



Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core



Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle



Trump's tax attacks



Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality



Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power



USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis



US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis



Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success



Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution



US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters



Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'



Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice