Friday, May 25, 2007


Mukhtar Mai says her goal is to fight injustice with knowledge.
Pakistani gang rape victim Mukhtar Mai has resigned as head of a women's crisis centre in her village.
She told the BBC she did so because she was about to be replaced by a woman from the ruling PML-Q party.
The local administration in her village of Meerwala in Punjab province say she was nearing the end of a maximum one-year term of office.
Mukhtar Mai has become known around the world after she was raped, allegedly on the order of a village council.
The council gave the order because her brother was reported to have behaved inappropriately with a woman from another tribe.
Mukhtar Mai ignored taboos about her ordeal and fought to have her attackers convicted.
Since then she has become a champion for women's rights in Pakistan and an internationally recognised figure.
The developments at the Meerwala women's crisis centre, where she has been chairwoman, happened while she was away on a lecture and fundraising trip to the US.
She has been replaced by Umme-Kulsum Siyal, the general secretary of the local women's wing of the ruling PML-Q political party in Meerwala.

Life in Ms Mai's home village is tough.
Mukhtar Mai told the BBC that when she learned that the board of the crisis centre had met to find a replacement, she sent in her resignation as she no longer wanted anything to do with the centre.
She said that the local administration officials had done their utmost from the beginning to undermine the work being done by the centre.
She said that, because of their obstructive attitudes, the crisis centre was still not fully operational despite being launched a year ago.
She also complained that although she insisted the women's centre be run only by women, a majority of men had become involved.
The local administration, however, say that they acted by the rules of the centre.
The chairperson can only serve for a year, they say and Mukhtar Mai's term was coming to an end.
Correspondents point out that some local administration officials and some members of the federal women's affairs ministry have been opposed to Mukhtar Mai's involvement in the centre.
The women's crisis centre was originally going to be in nearby Muzaffargarh city.
But Mukhtar Mai persuaded the then Women's Affairs Minister, Nilofer Bakhtiar, to shift it to rural Meerwala, where she said it was needed more.



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