Sunday, June 19, 2005

Mukhtaran Bibi

Nicholas Kristof writes of the continuing saga.
After the Pakistani government tired of kidnapping Mukhtaran Bibi, holding her hostage and lying about it, I finally got a call through to her.

Pakistani officials had just freed Ms. Mukhtaran and returned her to her village. She was exhausted, scared, relieved, giddy and sometimes giggly - and also deeply thankful to all the Pakistanis and Americans who spoke up for her. …

From Karachi to the Khyber Pass, Pakistan is one of the most hospitable countries I've ever visited. So, President Musharraf, if you want to improve Pakistan's image, here's some advice: just prosecute rapists with the same zeal with which you persecute rape victims. …

On Friday, Ms. Mukhtaran told me that one of the prime minister's aides had just called to offer to take her to the United States. It seems Mr. Musharraf wants to defuse the crisis by allowing Ms. Mukhtaran a tightly chaperoned tour of the U.S., controlled every step of her way.

"I said, 'No,' " she said. "I only want to go of my own free will."

Hats off to this incredible woman. President Musharraf may have ousted rivals and overthrown a civilian government, but he has now met his match — a peasant woman with a heart of gold and a will of steel.

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