by Ahmed Quraishi
She was supposedly gang raped eight years ago. Today, armed with the riches she collected from western embassies and NGOs, Mukhtaran Mai’s school and NGO in her hometown [her personal business concerns] were busted by government inspectors who caught her using illegal electricity connections to run her business.
Mukhtaran Mai was caught stealing electricity to avoid paying money for a government utility service, like I and you and almost all the average Pakistanis do. Her two brothers actually beat up the government inspectors who came to investigate the fraud and threatened them with dire consequences. This is what powerful land owners and politicians do in their towns and districts.
Apparently Mukhtaran Mai has become as powerful as the feudal lords who once abused her and her family.
But she has every right to exercise power. She is backed by a lot of wealth and support from western NGOs and governments and their local Pakistani watch dogs.
I have no problem that she pocketed all that money. Good for her. At least someone got something out of it. My problem is how she consented to be exploited by every NGO, esp the western ones, that wanted to use her to mount politically-motivated campaigns against Pakistan, and make money out of it.
And these NGOs made a killing. They were fresh from making a lot of money from the sad story of Afghan women under Taliban but that was gone and they needed a new tear jerker. Enter Mukhtaran Mai.
Making money by smearing your country is an unforgivable crime regardless of how Asma Jehangir & Co. would spin it.
Musharraf screwed up in many places but here he was right when he refused to allow her to travel abroad and be exploited. Mr. Musharraf, of course, reversed his decision under pressure, like he did on so many other more important matters. But that’s another subject.
Of course there is also that little matter of fresh information that surfaced recently where her original story, about the gang rape and about her role in the entire story involving her younger brother, became doubtful in the light of new information.Mukhtaran Mai deserved support as a rape victim regardless of how exaggerated her story turned out to be, and regardless of the fact that her role in the story was not as ‘accidental’ or innocent as she portrayed it to be. None of that absolves the villagers who convened an elders’ council and ordered she be raped as punishment for whatever that she or her brother did.
But the beating of government inspectors at the hands of her brothers and the fact she was stealing electricity to run her business gives credibility to the doubts about this lady.
Does anyone know where she is spending all that money and who is auditing it, if it’s really meant to serve the cause of women in her area?