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Mukhtaran Mai-saken i Pakistan har fått internasjonal oppmerksomhet. Kanskje er det derfor myndighetene har fått panikk, og «bortført» henne. De frykter negativ PR. Mukhtaran Mai hadde søkt om visum til USA, men fikk først husarrest, utreiseforbud, og er nå forsvunnet.

Plutselig dukket hun opp på en pressekonferanse tirsdag, med en regjeringsrepresentant ved sin side. Her erklærte hun at hun trakk tilbake visumsøknaden. Hun hadde ombestemt seg og ville ikke besøke USA, av hensyn til sin syke mor.

Dette opprører Mukhtaran Mais advokat, Aitzaz Ahsan, som er medlem av nasjonalforsamlingen. Han hevder at Mukhtaran blir holdt som fange.

«She is being kept hostage and she has not been allowed to meet me. I have raised this in the parliament today and I have demanded her immediate release. It is important that she meets me because I am her lawyer,» she says to AFP

Det var forrige uke saken brått tok en ny vending. Først fikk Mukhtaran Mai husarrest. Soldater voktet huset, og de nektet henne å gå ut. Dagen etter slapp en domstol ut de 12 som siden ifjor våres har sittet arrestert. Dette vakte internasjonal oppsikt. så forsvant Mukhtaran Mai.

Det fikk statssekretær for sørøstasiatiske saker i det amerikanske utenriksdepartementet, Christina Rocca, til å kritisere pakistanske myndigheter under en Kongresshøring tirsdag:

«We’re dismayed at the treatment being meted out to a courageous woman, who is herself a victim of a horrendous crime and is being denied her right to travel and to tell her story,» said the United States’s Rocca, who visited Pakistan last month.
Testifying in Congress, Rocca said the US embassy in Islamabad had been in touch with Mai’s friends but had been unable to make contact with her directly so far.
«We will pursue this matter during the course of the day,» she said, adding that «human rights in Pakistan is, of course, a critical component to its ultimate success.» (afP)

Pakistanske myndigheter sier de nå skal bygge et krisesenter for kvinner i Meerwala der Mukhtaran Mai ble voldtatt av en hel klan. Men Nicholas Kristof skriver i Nytimes at Mukhtaran Mai har brukt innsamlede midler til å bygge et krisesenter. Kan det være at de frykter ikke-statlige krisesentre som kan skape «bråk» og utfordre patriarkalske tradisjoner?

Kristof er knusende i sin kritikk. Han er selv blitt nektet innreise til Pakistan i ett år. Myndighetene vet at han kommer for å skrive om Mukhtaran.

group of Pakistani-Americans invited Ms. Mukhtaran to visit the U.S. starting this Saturday (see www.4anaa.org). Then a few days ago, the Pakistani government went berserk.

On Thursday, the authorities put Ms. Mukhtaran under house arrest – to stop her from speaking out. In phone conversations in the last few days, she said that when she tried to step outside, police pointed their guns at her. To silence her, the police cut off her land line.

After she had been detained, a court ordered her attackers released, putting her life in jeopardy. That happened on a Friday afternoon, when the courts do not normally operate, and apparently was a warning to Ms. Mukhtaran to shut up. Instead, Ms. Mukhtaran continued her protests by cellphone. But at dawn yesterday the police bustled her off, and there’s been no word from her since. Her cellphone doesn’t answer.

Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani lawyer who is head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said she had learned that Ms. Mukhtaran was taken to Islamabad, furiously berated and told that President Pervez Musharraf was very angry with her. She was led sobbing to detention at a secret location. She is barred from contacting anyone, including her lawyer.

Raped, Kidnapped and Silenced