SC frees all but one accused

Islamabad: Supreme Court has delivered the verdict into Mukhtaran Mai rape case upholding the LHC’s verdict, acquitting all the accused except one Abdul Khaliq.A three member bench headed by Justice Shakirullah Jan and comprising Justice Nasir ul Mulik and Justice Saqib Nisar Thursday heard the Mukhtaran Mai rape case.According to the SC ruling, Abdul Khaliq will undergo the complete length of his life sentence term; he will be given, however, benefit under clause-382 of criminal law. The court released all other accused.It should be mentioned here that Lahore High Court (LHC) turned his death sentence into life imprisonment, which was upheld by the SC in its ruling on Thursday.The SC had reserved the judgment of Mukhtaran Mai case on January 27, which was delivered on Thursday after six years of suo motu case.It should be mentioned here that Mukhtaran Mai was allegedly gang-raped in Meerwala locality of Muzaffargarh in 2002 at the behest of a local Punchayat. An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Dera Ghazi Khan sentenced five out of the six accused to death and fined them, but the LHC’s Multan Bench acquitted five of the accused.

At least 14 people were named as accused in the case; eight of them were freed by ATC; while, the remaining six were awarded death sentence.Later on, LHC set free five of the six accused. On this, the SC took suo motu notice of the case. Also, Mukhtaran Mai filed separate appeals at the apex court.Mukhtaran Mai expressing her distress and disappointment over the Supreme Court (SC) verdict, which upheld the LHC decision and acquitted five accused of her rape and saved one, Abdul Khaliq, has said that she has lost her trust in the judicial system and she recourses her case to Allah Almighty’s court.Talking to media persons outside the SC here on Thursday, Mukhtaran Mai said that she was penalised for mistakes in the case but what was her omission in this regard.

She said that she has been striving for last five years to get justice but in vain as the court acquitted the culprits only for having insufficient evidences against them. Mukhtaran Mai said her life was in danger after the acquittal of the accused.Various human rights groups also expressed discontent over the verdict of Mukhtaran Mai case. Human Rights activist Farzana Bari said that the SC verdict on Mukhtaran Mai case disappointed all the women of the country.She said that women across the country were being victimised by opposite gender but courts often fail to award justice to them due to insufficient evidences. Farzana Bari said that Thursday was the black day for women, when Mukhtaran Mai who struggled long for justice was deprived of justice.She said that after consultation with Mukhtaran Mai future strategy would be chalked out and we would fight for the rights of women given by our religion and the constitution of the country. Two other Human Rights activists, Fozia Saeed and Anees Haroon also expressed their dissatisfaction over the verdict and vowed to continue struggle for safeguarding women rights. – Pakobserver