ID: 71104 7/12/2006 13:41 06ISLAMABAD13376 Embassy Islamabad SECRET//NOFORN "VZCZCXRO6663 OO RUEHLH RUEHPW DE RUEHIL #3376 1931341 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O 121341Z JUL 06 FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4498 INFO RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 1973 RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE 9464 RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR 7389" "S E C R E T ISLAMABAD 013376
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/12/2016 TAGS: KWMN, PHUM, PGOV, PK SUBJECT: MUKHTARAN MAI: ACCUSATIONS OF FAMILY MEMBERS ABUSING OF POWER
Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, Derived from DSCG 05-01, d
1. (S/NF) A range of credible NGO contacts have confirmed to post serious problems within the local community being instigated by Mukhtaran's family in her home district of Mianwalli. These six well-respected Pakistani NGOs, including Strengthening Participatory Organizations, Pattan, and Awaz Community Development, are all well-known to the Embassy and have ongoing programs in Mukhtaran's district. These once-strong Mukhtaran supporters claim that, due to her international celebrity and significantly increased donor-provided resources, she and her family have become significant power brokers in their local community. Her brother, Hazoor Bakhsh, has become involved in local politics on behalf of the family and is now accorded the same respect as traditional tribal elders. While the civil society community initially viewed Mukhtaran's increased involvement in local affairs as a source for change, they are increasingly concerned that she and her family are simply replicating traditional abuses of power.
2. (S/NF) On June 21, Mukhtaran's brother Hazoor Bakhsh convened a panchayat (traditional court) to review the case of a nine-year old girl XXXXXXXXXXXX who had been raped by three local individuals. According to civil society activists, Mai had urged her brother to deal with the case through a panchayat rather than the formal legal system, arguing that the courts would not properly deal with the rapists. At the panchayat, Bakhsh utilized his position and authority to order that the fifteen year old sister of one of the rapists, Faizan, be handed over in marriage to rape victim’s XXXXXXXXXXXX father, Rasool Bakhsh, as compensation. Rasool tortured Faizan who was rescued by her father and brother one day after her marriage.
3. (S/NF) Civil society groups claimed that during the same panchayat, Hazoor Bakhsh, issued an order acquiting five people from a neighboring village of the kidnap and rape of two sisters XXXXXXXXXXXX. Sources claim that despite promising the sister's justice at the panchayat, Hazoor Bakhsh took a Rs. 60,000 (approximately $1000) bribe for their acquittal and ruled against the sisters -- effectively finding them guilty of illicit sexual relations.
4. (S/NF) Mukhtaran's reaction to these two incidents that have received limited (and at times inaccurate) play in the local media has been muted. She has repeatedly denied her brother's involvement in the panchayat claiming that the allegations were “politically motivated.” She has cited her brother's omission from the police report filed on the panchayat as evidence of his innocence. Civil society sources, however, assert that Hazoor Bakhsh and Mukhtaran bribed local police to keep his name out of the report.
5. (S/NF) Comment: Post is reluctant to believe that Mukhtaran would perpetuate the panchayat system that abused her so badly in the past, but the number of credible civil society organizations that have confirmed her and her brother's involvement in these incidents is impossible to ignore. Mukhtaran's and Hazoor Bakhsh's involvement in this case was reported in the July 8 edition of “The Daily Times” and other Engligh-language papers. Reportedly the police have now registered a rape case against one of the individuals behind the precipitating attack. We will continue to remain in contact with local civil society organizations in Mianwalli regarding the case. End Comment. CROCKER