June 19, 2005


Mukhtaran Mai is a woman who was sentenced by a tribal council in Pakistan to be gang-raped because of an infraction supposedly committed by her brother. The human rights activists tried to send her abroad to escape the humiliation. But she was arrested later on order of the Pakistani president Parvez Musharraf and he defended the action as:

Mai, whose rape was ordered to punish her family for her brother’s alleged affair with a woman from another family, was being taken to the United States by foreign nongovernment organizations "to bad-mouth Pakistan" over the "terrible state" of the nation’s women. "She was told not to go" to the United States to appear on media there to tell her story. He said NGOs are "Westernized fringe elements" which "are as bad as the Islamic extremists."

Nitin has more updates.

In Bangladesh another such human rights abuse is being done by the government against Bidisha Ershad, the former wife of the ex-President and leader of Jatiyo Party H.M. Ershad. The arrest of ailing Bidisha was a drama itself as Ershad sued his wife Bidisha on charges of stealing money (In muslim law husband's money is also wife's money so why stealing?) and death-threatening Ershad. The media suspected political intrigue as Bidisha, being a influential leader of Jatiyo Party is said to be inclined to the opposition Awami League. Her two year old son was stolen by Ershad with the help of police from her (in Police station) with the help of the police. The law says unless settled by the court otherwise, a child should stay with the mother till it is 7 years old. Ershad divorces Bidisha.

Bidisha's lawyers worked hard and the court granted Bails against three cases against her. But she was not released as she was shown arrested in an additional suit. The local law says women and minors in ailing condition would be granted bail immediately irrespective of their charges. Moreover it is a clear case of violating the court order when the Jail authorities could not produced the arrest order of the subsequent suit and they did not honor the courts release order. Meanwhile Ershad confirms that he did not file more than 2 law suits. So it is assumed that there is a hand of the government behind it.

The latest is that court has again rejected her latest bail petition. I wonder how long this mockery would continue against an ailing women. Nobody is guilty until proven. And even a murderer has the right of good treatment and a fair trial. No doubt this is a ploy of the government to intimidate small political parties which are likely to form qualition with the opposition to pose a threat to the ruling qualition. If they succeed that means this tactics can be used to put other political rivals behind the bars.

I think Bangladeshis should raise their voices against these misuse of administrative powers. Otherwise the democracy will soon turn into a autocracy.


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