Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered the re-arrest of all 13 men accused of involvement in the gang-rape of Mukhtaran Mai and designated them as under-trial prisoners, reports the Pakistani daily Dawn.
Mukhtaran Mai was repeatedly raped on the orders of the panchayat (religious council) of the village Meerwala Jatoi in the Multan district in June 2002, in reprisal for her brother’s alleged affair with a woman of the Mastoi tribe.
The court decided to suspend the ruling of the Lahore High Court, which in 2002 overturned the anti-terrorist court convictions of the five main defendants.
Attorney General Makhdum ‘Ali Khan told the Supreme Court that gang-rape cases were considered as acts of terrorism because they disrupted public order in a society and stigmatized a woman for life.
“I am very pleased with the order,” said Mukhtaran Mai following the court’s decision.
Lauding the victim’s courage, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan who is representing the Punjab government, said that despite being illiterate and powerless, Mukhtaran was fighting against injustice and had not succumbed to pressure.