The review petition against the acquittal of 13 accused in the infamous Mukhtar Mai gang rape case of 2002 has been fixed for hearing in the Supreme Court for Wednesday. A three-member bench of the apex court, under Justice Gulzar Ahmed’s stewardship, will hear the review petition, which the defendant, through her counsel Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, had filed in May 2011. Mai was gang-raped in June 2002 on the orders of a village council as punishment after her younger brother was accused of having illicit relations with a woman from a rival clan.
Read: Mukhtar Mai: More questions than answers
She had accused 14 men of being involved in the rape and in Aug 2002, an anti-terrorism court had sentenced six men to death — four for raping Mai and two for being part of that jirga. The remaining eight were released.
Later, the Lahore High Court’s Multan bench, on separate appeals, acquitted five of the convicts and converted the death sentence of Abdul Khaliq to life imprisonment.
Mai had subsequently challenged their acquittal in the top court. However, the Supreme Court, in its April 2011 verdict, had rejected her appeal by a majority of two to one — much to the consternation of rights activists.
That three member bench had featured Mian Shakirullah Jan and future chief justices Nasirul Mulk and Mian Saqib Nisar. The dissenting note was penned by Nasirul Mulk.
Mai, whose ordeal and struggle for justice has seen her become the voice of oppressed women, sought the constitution of a larger bench, instead of a three-judge bench.