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Violence against women rising: Mai

KARACHI: A Pakistani rape victim who became a prominent women’s rights campaigner said on Thursday violence against women was increasing in Pakistan because authorities were not serious about punishing the perpetrators.

Mukhtaran Mai, who was gang-raped in 2002 on the orders of a traditional village council, said she was appalled by a similar attack on a 16-year-old girl at the weekend. “Such inhuman acts are increasing in Pakistan as the government is not sincere about punishing offenders,” Mai said on Thursday. “When I read about this girl’s ordeal, I felt the work we have done for women in the last four years was for nothing,” she said.

A group of Pakistani men has been accused of raping the 16-year old girl in Sindh at the weekend and forcing her to parade naked through her village because one of her relatives eloped with a young woman from the men’s family.

Such attacks are known as honour crimes in Pakistan because they are committed in response to a perceived slight on a family’s honour.

“When I read about it I realised what this girl must have gone through, and all this in the name of honour,” Mai said.

Mai, who runs a community centre for women and a school in her home village in Punjab province, urged the government to provide swift justice for the girl. She said those guilty of honour crimes knew that even if they were convicted and imprisoned they would be free after three or four years.

Police in Sindh said they had arrested two more of the 11 men accused of attacking the girl in a complaint filed by her father. “Six men are now behind bars and will be produced in court,” investigating officer Aftab Farooqi said from the town of Ubaro.

Authorities had set up a team to investigate the incident, a provincial official said. “We have ordered police to investigate the case thoroughly and also constituted a special team to look into the matter,” said provincial government spokesman Salahuddin Haider. “It is an absolutely barbaric act and we cannot allow such things to happen,” Haider said. reuters

Source: Daily Times