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Mukhtar Mai leads Women's Day rally in Pak

The 33-year-old's gangrape on the orders of a tribal council in Pakistan triggered an international outcry.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 19:17 IST

Around 3,000 people on Wednesday attended a rally led by a Pakistani woman whose gangrape on the orders of a tribal council triggered an international outcry, witnesses said.

The protesters, the vast majority of them women, held placards and banners and cheered Mukhtaran Mai when she appeared on a stage along with a dozen other gangrape victims to mark International Women's Day.

"I will continue my struggle to end the oppression of women," the 33-year-old Mai told the crowd. "I have come here so we can raise our voices together."

Protesters shouted slogans including "Give equal rights to women" and "Treat women with respect".

Local authorities banned them from marching on roads so they held the rally in a park.

"The day will be momentous as it will bring together, for the first time, men and women in an area globally marked for gender discrimination and cruelty towards women," Mai earlier told the agency.

Mai was gangraped on the orders of a tribal council in a rural village in Punjab province in 2002 as punishment for her brother's alleged affair with a woman from another tribe.

Rallies, walks and seminars were held in various Pakistani cities today to mark the struggle for women's rights.

In Islamabad the UN Population Fund launched a compendium on gender statistics and the Ministry of Women's Development arranged a march to the parliament building.

In Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, the provincial women's development department organised a walk, a seminar and crafts exhibition.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 12:38 IST