Goodbye General, You will not be missed !
by SevenStrings, Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 09:03:48 AM EDT
Back in 2001/2002, I had several conversations with some friends about what should be the proper US policy w.r.t. Pakistan, and it's dictator ~ Gen. Musharraf. My friends were of the opinion best summarized by the line "We need him", and therefore all his sins are forgiven. I was of the opinion that one needs Musharraf just like one needs a venomous snake in one's bed
And nothing illustrates the venom in the snake better than the treatment meted out by Gen. Musharraf to Mukhtaran Bibi (caveat: this incident occured after 2001/2002; but it is the best illustration).
Muktharan Bibi was gangraped by tribesmen from a Baloch clan, as per tribal custom, to avenge her brothers alleged rape of a Baloch. Mukhtaran Bibi is Gujjar ~ a less powerful clan. Some accounts have it that the allegations of rape against her brother were concocted to cover up his sodomization by powerful Baloch elders. The coverup would have been perfect ~ women subjected to a "revenge honor rape" are expected to kill themselves.
Instead, Mukhtaran Bibi went public, and fought back.
She quickly became an embarrassment to the leaders of Pakistan, and those who would pretend that such problems do not exist. Her travel was restricted, on orders from the Big Chief (Gen. Musharraf) himself, and she lived under virtual house arrest.
And, to top it off, Gen. Musharraf proudly proclaimed and justified his decision to restrict her movements.
And lest you believe that this was the only incident, there was the case of Dr. Shazia Khalid, who was raped by a Captain in the Pakistan Army. Her rape was first denied by the government, then blamed on the local tribesmen ~ thereby fomenting a rebellion that was later ascribed to the resurgence of the Taliban in Balochistan.
Goodbye General, You will not be missed!
The President Responds
Category: Social Sector
- - - | 29 Jun, 2005
The President has received many emails on the subject of Mukhtaran Mai. Here is the response:
In response to a number of emails addressed to me on the subject of Mukhtaran Mai I would like to give my views on this critical issue.
I am deeply pained on this unfortunate incident. Whilst I sincerely regret what Mai had to endure, the government is taking action to remedy it.
Unfortunately, violence against women is not peculiar to Pakistani society alone. It is a worldwide phenomena and a curse on mankind.
Your emails have blamed Pakistan for stopping her from participating in a conference in the US organized by ANAA and for keeping her under detention. I would like to categorically state that she is not under detention. In fact the government has given her full protection and her case is in the court.
I have already publicly stated that I took the decision to stop her from going to the US myself. I took this decision in the best national interest of Pakistan because I truly believed that the invitation would have tarnished Pakistans international image rather than help improve the lot of women folk in Pakistan or elsewhere in the world. I believe there was a strong ulterior intent of maligning Pakistan by vested interests, rather than sincerely helping Mai out.
Unfortunately my decision has been misinterpreted. It has been unfairly assumed that the government is not supportive of Mukhtaran Mai in her quest for justice. These assumptions are absolutely incorrect.
I am an ardent advocate of women rights as can be seen by the many policies made for them during my tenure, as such I would be the last one to have opposed an effort which I believed would have assisted their struggle.
It would have been appropriate had the organizers of this conference focused on a holistic approach to discussing violence against cases occurring all over the world; with case studies of not just Mukhtaran Mai alone but others also to keep the subject in perspective. However, in this case I felt that Pakistan was being singled out without taking into consideration the governments efforts to assist in her ordeal.
Let me make it absolutely clear that Mukhtaran Mai is free to go wherever she pleases, meet whoever she wants and say whatever she pleases. I have full faith in her and in her patriotism.
I am surprised that where the government has made tremendous headway in emancipating women folk through enlightened policies, none of those achievements were kept in mind whilst terming Pakistan society as retrogressive for women.
In order to truly make a contribution towards highlighting the injustices against woman, I would like to take the lead in organizing a conference inviting women victims from all over the world to present their ordeals and recommend remedial measures. The government would ensure that such a conference will be representative of the different types of women victimizations occurring all over the world rather than single out any one country.
Let me conclude by saying that I have always condemned in the strongest possible terms the actions of powerful groups to seek revenge on those who are weak by humiliating their women. This is unfortunately a malaise in our society as is the case in other traditional societies. The government is committed to remedying it. It is indeed the duty of the state to do everything within its power to protect the weak and the disadvantaged. That is what the state is all about. The government therefore, remains committed to all the victims of such offences, including Mukhtaran Mai, in their quest for justice according to law.
In this we shall not falter.
General Pervez Musharraf