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Mukhtar Mai blocked from speaking at UN

Mai's defiant response to being gangraped on the orders of a Pak village council made her a champion of women's causes.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 15:11 IST

Apparently afraid that she might steal the thunder from Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Pakistan forced the United Nations to block Mukhtar Mai from speaking at the world body headquarters around the time Aziz held a press conference.

Mai, whose defiant response to being gangraped on the orders of a village council in Pakistan has made her a champion of women's causes, was scheduled several days ago to speak at the UN on Friday.

But as Aziz's press conference was around the same time, Pakistani officials sought postponement of her appearance in the programme called An Interview With Mukhtar Mai: The Bravest Women On Earth in UN television studio.

On Thursday night, the UN informed the sponsor NGOs—the Virtue Foundation and the Asian-American Network Against Abuse of Human Rights—that the programme would have to be postponed, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Since she is leaving on Saturday, it effectively means cancellation.

Confronted with the development at his press conference, Aziz flatly denied any knowledge about it and told reporters that he had come to know about it only from them.

"I have no idea. You have informed me and so have some other people as I was walking in. I don't know how the place functions," he said and went on for next five minutes to explain what all the Pakistani government has done for emancipation of women and expressing full support for her.

First Published: Jan 21, 2006 14:00 IST