14 years on, Pakistan’s gangrape survivor Mukhtar Mai is healed now. Recently, she showed incredible fighting spirit during Pakistan’s fashion week when she walked the fashion runway to drive home the message that no mishap is the end of the world.
The southern Pakistani city of Karachi had organized a red-carpet reception for Mai to show her exceptional courage to the world. Mai’s symbolic fashion debut was applauded by the country’s fashion elites, something through which Mai hopes to become a model of courage and hope for other Pakistani women.
“If one step I take, if that helps even one woman, I would be very happy to do that,” Mai told The Associated Press, reported by Frontpage – PCH.com.
After the tragedy in 2002, a wounded Mai was paraded naked on the orders of her tribe’s elders after her brother insulted a rival clan. Mai did not snap. While most women in her situation would follow a closed-door path, Mai fought back and went to the Supreme Court to have her attackers jailed.
After a long battle fought in court, all 14 rapists were out on bail. But Mai never quit, and went on to become an international advocate for women’s rights. Later on, she started a charity to provide women help and a girl’s school in her village, Meerwala.
On Tuesday night, she was shy and nervous to walk the ramp for the first time in front of top models and wealthy designers. But later a rather steely Mai, now 44, appeared on stage in a light-green embroidered bridal shirt and silver, silk pajama pants, designed by Rozina Munib, with a scarf covering her hair.
According to Munib, Mai’s appearance was a clear-cut message for the women: “If you have a mishap, it’s not the end of life.”
It was a three-day Fashion Pakistan Week event, where Mai’s gorgeous smile stole everyone’s heart. After the show, she got to get mingle with the crowd, her well-wishers and posed for selfies with them.
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“I want to be the voice of those women who face circumstances similar to what I did,” Mai said. “My message for my sisters is that we aren’t weak. We have a heart and a brain, we also think,” adding, “I ask my sisters to not lose hope in the face of injustice, as we will get justice one day for sure.”
The annual fashion showcase was first staged in 2009 in defiance to religious fundamentalists in Pakistan who sought to enforce strict dress codes and behavioural restrictions on Pakistani women.
Feature image credit: Times Colonist
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