Thursday, June 16, 2005

More on Mukhtaran Bibi

The Independent has more on the case of Mukhtaran Bibi / Mukhtar Mai. Particularly troubling are the details of President Musharaff's attitude to the case:

The case has indeed embarrassed President Musharraf, a "modern" general who is keen to play down the religious extremism in backward parts of his country. He has been promoting "an enlightened Islam" but activists say that this vision seems to exclude women. Privately, General Musharraf is enraged at how Ms Mai's case has brought infamy to Pakistan. Instead of promoting justice in the case, his reaction, along with a group of newspaper editors, has been to suppress information about the case. The President even threatened to "slap" a reporter "in the face" for publishing details in an international magazine about Mr Mai's defiance. The reporter in question was Pakistan's leading women's rights activist, Ms Jehangir, who is also a UN special rapporteur on human rights.

But President Musharraf's adverse reaction is not a reason for silence. This is a matter of outright barbarism, and fully supported by the Pakistani regime. According to the article, government officials have repeatedly vilified Bibi's supporters as "unpatriotic" for embarassing the country and threatening foreign investment. But it's not the supporters that do that, but the government's toleration of barbarism.

Mukhtaran Bibi may have been silenced by the Pakistani government, but Helen Clark has not. And she should use her meeting with President Musharraf to be a voice for the voiceless, to demand both Bibi's release and an end to the obscene tribal justice system which abused her in the first place.


Asking Helen Clark is only the 1st step. It would be marvelous if Musharraf's hotel had a few vocal demonstrators telling him and his group of 54 what they think of his pseudo-facade of a democracy in Pakistan.
In reality the Pakistan Army rules all and the mighty Generals and their cronies pocket what litte cream that can be obtained.

Please give the 'heaps' NZ. Shame them!

Posted by A Different Drum : 6/16/2005 03:00:00 AM

Unfortunately I don't live in Auckland. But I'm hoping that some of those who do will speak out loudly against this particular international visitor.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/16/2005 03:18:00 AM

Musharraf is after all a military dictator, so the fact that he acts like one is no surprise. That Helen Clark treats him like an elected president though, that is just plain shameful.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/16/2005 04:45:00 AM

The Pakistani government appears to be caving in from international pressure -- see here.

Posted by Richard Y Chappell : 6/16/2005 12:06:00 PM