Pakistan’s top court took up on Wednesday Mukhtar Mai’s review petition against the acquittal of 13 suspects in her gang-rape case eight years after she filed the petition.
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the petition. It was filed in 2011.
Those acquitted in the case, including Allah Ditta and Fayyaz among others, appeared in court. They asked court for time because they didn’t have a lawyer to represent them.
Justice Ahmed said that they are adjourning the case and asked them to come with a lawyer at the next hearing.
The case will be heard next on March 27.
An anti-terrorism court awarded in 2002 the death sentence to six men for raping Mukhtar Mai on the orders of a panchayat. The Lahore High Court’s Multan bench acquitted five of the suspects in 2005 and sentenced the sixth to life in prison because of lack of evidence.
In 2011, the Supreme Court upheld the high court’s decision and rejected her appeal. It took the top court eight long years to approve her subsequent appeal for hearing.
On June 22, 2002 Mukhtar Mai was gang-raped on the orders of the panchayat to seek retribution for an alleged act of adultery committed by her 12-year-old brother. However, she insisted the accusation was false and was only leveled against her brother to prevent the family from registering a case against those who sodomised her brother.
She was raped by six men in front of onlookers and made to parade naked on the streets. She said there a total of 14 men involved in the incident. Only six were taken to court.
A local cleric urged her family to report the matter and told a local journalist about it on June 28, 2002 making it the first time the case was mentioned in the media.