Articles of the year 2005

Mukhtaran Mai "A Brave Pakistani"
Published on June 30th, 2005

At last I am again proud of being a Pakistani. Courtesy the brave Mukhtaran Mai.The example she has set, does us all proud. She has exposed the savagery of the Rural folk, and the callousness of the Higher Judiciary, was beautifully summed up by her when she said 'Wo to jahil they, mugar yeh to parhey likkhay hain'. Loosely translated goes "they were illiterates but these are educated folk." Her Punjabi idiom is so powerful that it does not translate well, and loses much of its sting. I would love for the High Court to have issued a contempt notice against her. This would have been in keeping with all the other political and bureaucratic faux pas that kept mounting. Even her minders were so inept that they appeared on TV to be part of an attempt to embarrass Pakistan even further. It is truly unfortunate that we gave the western Media yet another opportunity to indulge in some more Paki bashing.

However, let us learn from Mukh fortitude, and the inner strength that she draws upon. She is not a Tina Durrani, who in suffering had a powerful clan and education behind her to fall back on. She is the equal of all Pakistani women who have suffered, and continue to suffer, but she battles on. She makes me proud of being a Pakistani. She is that one individual who can and has risen above her tribulations to chart a new future for herself, and in setting up schools she is setting an example to all those who may follow in her footsteps. She further exposes the antics of the parasitic politicians who are shamelessly engrossed in lining their pockets while claiming to be serving the public.

She is not a Phoolan Devi though God knows she has good cause. Instead of keeping her under wraps we should encourage her, support her, fund her. Pakistan needs more people like her. She is the image of a young persecuted woman who in spite of her frailty and suffering is being sought out not for what was done to her or the beasts who committed the crimes, but what she is doing for the community around her. Her greatness lies in her resilience and the ability to do good even though she has suffered, to run schools for children in her village, the same village where she was humbled--- that is greatness. And if the world chooses to honor her , so be it , we Pakistanis should be at the forefront leading the chorus of praise. For she deserves the praise and the encouragement, and maybe other youngsters will take up her cause and help her establish more schools. In any western Society she would be quoted as an example of the ideal Christian. Who even though having been sinned against leaves the evil behind her and turns to charitable work. Why can we Muslims not relate to such behaviour?

We Pakistanis need role models, and here in the person of Mukhtaran Mai we could have such an example. She should be projected on TV, on talk shows, here and abroad. Believe me she would never allow anyone to speak against Pakistan, of that I am sure. She is also far more patriotic than people would have us believe. She is certainly more patriotic than many of our politicos, most of whom are in it for personal profit. She is too good a human being, and certainly too smart to allow herself to be used in such a manner. The Rural peasant of any Nationality is so closely dependent on the soil that he reveres it and will never speak against his land. And so it is with the Pakistani peasant. Mukhtaran Mai is a typical rural Pakistani who would not allow her Country to be spoken against. These are but excuses being used in the corridors of Islamabad, who see evil all around them but in themselves.

We the people should start taking action at those leaders who rob Pakistan, they should be picketed outside their houses in their businesses at their offices. They should be reviled in the street or at any function, this is true accountability—of the people. Perhaps that is why I so admire Mukhtaran Mai. She is truly a great Pakistani and deserves far more respect than she is being shown.