| Mukhtar Mai
Islamabad, July 6: Mukhtar Mai, a gangrape victim in Pakistan Punjab and eventually a celebrity among local and foreign human rights’ watchdogs, has won yet another award, but her brother has been booked for deciding the fate of a local girl according to tribal customs.
The Council of Europe has chosen Mai for the North-South Prize 2006 to acknowledge her services to the community. She has established a school for boys and girls in her village near Multan despite her own ordeal in 2002, when she was allegedly raped on the orders of a village council to punish her 12-year-old brother’s “illicit” relationship with a woman from a more powerful family.
While Mai is receiving accolades from across the world, her brother Hazoor Bakhsh took part in a tribal panchayat to adjudicate a community feud.
It forced one Nazir Ahmed into marrying off his 16-year-old sister Faizan to 65-year-old Rasul Bakhsh, after Nazir allegedly raped Nasim, 8, daughter of Ghulam Rasul. Rasul Baksh is said to be Nasim’s relative.
A senior local police official, Rai Tahir, said: “We have registered a rape case and arrested the accused and will take action against the local jury if it is found guilty of giving a wrong decision.”
The European body’s North-South Centre awards two prominent personalities ' one from a developed country and another from a developing country ' every year.
In a letter conveying its decision to Mai, the chairman of the centre has encouraged Mai to continue her struggle for awareness about human rights and justice. The ceremony will take place in Lisbon in November, where the Portuguese President is expected to hand her the prize.
At the school set up by Mai, also known as Mukhtaran Bibi, students included the children of a couple of men accused of gangraping her. “I admitted them to the school because I believe what happened to me was because of ignorance, lack of education,” Mai recently said.