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Sindh Gang Rape Incident Reminds about Story of Mukhtar Mai

The shocking Sindh gang rape incident reminded Pakistani of the devastating story of Mukhtar Mai. About 20 men kidnapped 2 young women, paraded them naked, and gang-raped them. One victim was 19-years-old, and the other was a minor of 14-years-old. Residents of Naukot town staged a protest and blocked the roads with sit-ins to call for the recovery of abducted girls. However, the authorities took notice of the incident after 20 hours when it was too late.

How Sindh Gang Rape Incident Relates with Mukhtar Mai Story?

According to reports, the gang rape of 2 young women was an act of revenge by one clan against another. Tangri and Rajput community had been at each other throats for a week due to a  freewill marriage. A girl from the Tangri clan eloped and married a Rajput boy. It led Tangris to exact their revenge on 2 innocent girls from the Rajput family.

The Sindh gang rape case is a stark reminder of the Mukhtar Mai case from 2002. A local village council ordered a gang rape on Mukhtara Bibi as a “punishment” for someone else’s alleged actions. Her younger brother was accused of having a non-marital affair with a woman from the powerful Mastoi clan, who owned the village council. 4 men volunteered to gang rape Mai but several others joined to support them as she struggled to save herself. Mai named 14 people in the case, but the Anti-terrorism court sentenced only 6, including the heads of the village council. Then in 2005, Lahore High Court acquitted 5 more suspects and changed one death row to life imprisonment.

The international community condemned the rape of Mai and the decision of the court to acquit her culprits. Mai became the face of all the oppressed and voiceless women in Pakistan. President at that time, General Pervaiz Musharaff, restricted Mai’s movements and branded her call for justice as “destroying the image of Pakistan”.

Women as Targets of Revenge

The Sindh gang rape case showed that there are more cases like Mukhtar Mai in such areas of Pakistan where families rule over many underprivileged people. Powerful men still consider women as their property, and no one has been able to do anything about it. They continue to serve as sacrificial lambs for the men vying for power in several areas. Law, courts, and authorities have also faced various accusations of supporting the powerful men as they offer money.

In the recent gang rape, locals again accused the police of being reluctant to catch the culprits. They alleged that Tangris had been involved in various criminal activities in the region with the help of police. According to reports, the goons attacked the house of those girls and took them away at gunpoint, along with some valuables, cash, and gold. Victims alleged that the police official ASI Gulzar Tangri was connected with the criminals. Parents of the girls also alleged that if the police had come on time, they might have saved the girls from gang rape.

However, it looked like the police were waiting for all of that to happen. Similarly, in the Mukhtar Mai case, police knew everything that was going on but did nothing to save Mai. They only got involved when the news reached international media.

Singh High Court Summons the Police

Chief Justice of Sindh High Court (SHC) took notice of the Sindh gang rape incident and summoned DIG and SSP of Mirpurkhas on 15 February. Victims alleged that they were taken to the ASI’s estate before coming to the Tangri clan’s compound.

According to the latest updates, police only caught 12 suspects out of 20. Moreover, the eloped couple is hiding from the wrath of the Tangri family.

The governor of Sindh also warned the police to perform their responsibilities to curb the region’s lawlessness.

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