News Desk |
On Thursday, the Supreme Court dismissed a review petition filed by Mukhtaran Mai against the acquittal of the 13 individuals booked in the gang-rape case of 2002.
The decision was announced by a three-member bench, led by Justice Gulzar, along with underlining the aspects highlighted in the petition, which might be examined in another case. Justice Ahmed advised Mukhtaran Mai to shorten the review petition or else the case is likely to be dragged in courts for the next decade or so.
Earlier, Justice Gulzar had questioned the suspects on the absence of their legal counsels as they were not represented by a lawyer in the court. The suspects informed the judge that they had only been informed of the hearing via notices received the evening before, and hence, they could not obtain any legal assistance. Moreover, the suspects added that they could not afford to hire lawyers.
The appeal was rejected by a three-member bench led by Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, and former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Nasirul Mulk and Mian Saqib Nisar, who chose to uphold the verdict of the Lahore High Court.
Justice Gulzar provided the suspects the opportunity to appoint their lawyers, as he had instructed them to appear in front of the court alongside their legal representation on 27th March.
Mukhtaran Mai’s legal counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, informed the three-member bench that the Lahore High Court’s 2005 verdict has ruled that no visible injuries had resulted from the sexual assault on Mai, however, the statements given by witnessed clearly indicated otherwise.
Mai Gang-Raped to Punish Brother
Mukhtaran Mai was gang-raped by the orders of a “Panchayat” in order to punish her family after her 12-year old brother was found guilty of having illegitimate relations with a girl from a rival tribe.
Read more: Mukhtaran Mai walks the ramp at Fashion Pakistan Week
An anti-terrorism court ruled death penalty for 6 out of the 14 accused identified by Mukhtaran Mai in August 2002, while four were sentenced for rape, and two were given capital punishment for leading the village council that ordered this punishment. The ATC ordered the release of the remaining eight culprits.
In March 2005, the Lahore High Court acquitted five convicts while converting the sentence of one culprit into life imprisonment.
Mukhtaran Mai and her legal counsel challenged the ruling of the Lahore High Court in the apex court. The appeal was rejected by a three-member bench led by Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, and former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Nasirul Mulk and Mian Saqib Nisar, who chose to uphold the verdict of the Lahore High Court.
Read more: Gang rape silenced: An ugly face of Pakistan’s criminal justice system
In May 2011, Mukhtaran Mai filed a review petition against this judgment, pleading the court to review its judgment and reconsider its decision to acquit the culprits involved in her gang-rape. She pleaded with the court to constitute a large bench to hear out her petition, and stated that she remains unsatisfied with the investigations conducted by the court.