Khudayar Mohla –
Turning down excuse of accused persons of infamous Mukhtaran Mai rape case that they are unable to pay fee of attorney, the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted an opportunity to defendants to render services of lawyer in the matter by March 27.
Taking up review plea in the matter, a three-member bench led by Justice Gulzar Ahmed accused persons of the case that which lawyer is representing them. To which accused persons submitted that they received court’s notices a day before saying they are not able to render legal service of a lawyer under the reason they cannot afford to hire lawyers. Counsel for Mai, senior advocate of Supreme Court Aitzaz Ahsan was present in the court
However, Justice Gulzar Ahmed plainly said that court is granting an opportunity to the accused persons to render services of counsel and should appear with their lawyers during next date of hearing on March 27.
Mai was gang-raped in June 2002 in result of a village council decision as punishment after her younger brother was declared guilty of having illicit relations with a woman from a rival clan.
Mukhtaran Mai had accused a total of 14 men of being involved in her rape. Consequently an Anti-Terrorism court had sentenced six men to death — four for raping Mai and two for being part of that jirga and in August 2002 whereas remaining eight accused persons were acquitted.
However, Mukhtaran Mai invoked the jurisdiction of Lahore High Court’s Multan bench in the matter whereas accused persons also filed appeals before the same bench for remedy. The High Court acquitted five of the convicts while converting death sentence of Abdul Khaliq to life imprisonment.
Subsequently, Mukhtaran Mai appealed before the Supreme Court while challenging High Court’s order for acquittal of five accused persons, however, the top court rejected the appeal in April 2011.
While filing review petition on behalf of Mai in the matter, senior advocate of Supreme Court Aitzaz Ahsan submitted that there were at least nine instances where evidence had not been noticed. Ahsan said that ignoring the evidence for nine times is a sufficient grounds to comprehend that the 2011 judgment could not be sustained and was therefore contrary to the fundamental rules of dispensation of justice.
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