Govt stopping Mukhtar Mai from going abroad?
* Aziz orders investigation into Mai’s name in ECL
By Waqar Gillani
LAHORE: The government is putting pressure on rape victim Mukhtar Mai not to go abroad, sources told Daily Times on Monday.
Sources said Mukhtar Mai was taken away from her Multan residence by a senior police officer, brought to Lahore, and then taken to Islamabad to meet Neelofar Bakhtiyar, the adviser to the prime minister on social welfare and women development. She was not allowed to talk to anyone during this period. Sources told Daily Times that her family, friends, and human rights activists all tried to contact her during the day but in vain.
It is learnt that Ms Bakhtiyar put a lot of pressure on Mukhtar Mai not to go abroad because the foreign media would exploit her situation to hurt the image of Pakistan.
One source told Daily Times that if Mukhtar Mai did not succumb to the pressure, the government would have to choose between letting her go or formally detaining her on one pretext or the other.
Till the last reports came in, Mukhtar Mai was insisting on going abroad and Ms Bakhtiyar said she would convey her wish to the ‘higher authorities’. Mukhtar Mai is now being kept in a “safe house” in Islamabad.
Islamabad reporter adds: Ms Bakhtiyar earlier told the Senate that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had ordered an investigation to find out how Mukhtar Mai’s name was put on the Exit Control List. She said the prime minister also denied the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s claims that Mukhtar Mai was under ‘house arrest’.