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ISLAMABAD, June 12: The representatives of various civil society organizations (CSOs) on Saturday expressed their “extreme outrage and disgust” over the treatment of a gangrape victim, Mukhtaran Mai, by the state institutions.

In a joint press statement on Saturday, representatives of Pattan Development Organization, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Sungi Development Foundation, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute and Sachet, said while the court order to release the accused in the case was “shocking”, equally alarming were reports that the government had put the victim’s name on the exit control list.

They said the handling of the case spoke volumes for the sorry state of administrative, judicial and the criminal justice system. “This situation calls for an immediate revamping of our criminal justice system in order to provide protection to the victims of violence,” they suggested.

It is disappointing that despite a suo motu notice taken by the Supreme Court after the verdict of the Lahore High Court in the Mukhtaran Mai case and the repeated requests submitted by her lawyer Aitezaz Ahsan, who had filed her appeal in the Supreme Court for early hearing of her case, she is still awaiting justice.

“How many times we have to remind our rulers that justice delayed is justice denied,” they said, adding that “if our higher judiciary cannot speed up the dispensation of justice even in such cases on which national as well as international quarters have expressed their concerns, then what is the hope for those victims of violence who are fighting alone their battles for justice”.

The CSOs’ representatives said: “Mukhtaran Mai is not allowed to leave her home in the name of security. She has been virtually put under house arrest and is being treated like a criminal.”