Heeding Pakistani Protest, U.N. Blocks Talk by Rape Victim
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 20 - Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani woman whose defiant response to being gang-raped by order of a tribal court brought her worldwide attention, was denied a chance to speak at the United Nations on Friday after Pakistan protested that it was the same day the country's prime minister was visiting.
Ms. Mai had long been scheduled to make an appearance called "An Interview With Mukhtar Mai: The Bravest Woman on Earth" in the United Nations television studios, sponsored by the office for nongovernmental organizations, the Virtue Foundation and the Asian-American Network Against Abuse of Human Rights.
But on Thursday night the organizers were informed that the program would have to be postponed because of Pakistan's objections. Ms. Mai is leaving New York on Saturday so the effect was to cancel her appearance.
Asked at a news conference why Pakistan had taken the action, the prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, said: "I have no idea. You have informed me and so have some other people as I was walking in. I don't know how the place functions."
The Pakistani Mission did not return calls seeking comment.
In 2002, a village council sentenced Ms. Mai to be gang-raped for the supposed misconduct of her brother. Pakistani women in such circumstances often commit suicide, but Ms. Mai instead successfully challenged her rapists in court. She gave the compensation money she received to schools in her remote district.
Mr. Aziz is scheduled to see President Bush in Washington next week.
This was not the first time that Pakistan's government had interfered in Ms. Mai's travels. President Pervez Musharraf blocked her from taking a trip to the United States in June and then relented last fall when Glamour magazine honored her as its "Woman of the Year."
Asked why the United Nations bowed to the Pakistani protest, Shashi Tharoor, the under secretary general for communications, said he could not comment on this specific case. But, he said: "As a general principle, indeed there are written instructions guiding the holding of any event on United Nations premises in which we are obliged to take into account views formally expressed by member states. This is a building and an organization that belongs to the member states."
Thousands rally against U.S. in Pakistan
INAYAT QALA, Pakistan (AP) — Thousands of angry Pakistanis protested Sunday against a U.S. airstrike that killed civilians, chanting "Long live Osama bin Laden!" as anti-American rallies in the country entered their second week.
Pakistani authorities, meanwhile arrested a relative of a man suspected of hiding the bodies of four suspected al-Qaeda operatives believed killed in the Jan. 13 attack, said a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
My only question is this...how does bombing countries and killing suspected terrorists along with innocent civilians work to defeat "radical Islam" (whatever that is)? If anything, this gives ammunition to Osama bin Hidin and more soldiers for his cause. And maybe, that's what the United States military infrastructure wants? Let's make dua for our sister and for the people of Pakistan who have been through so much with the earthquake and their corrupt leaders.