The following are excerpts from a news story about a Pakistani blood vengeance, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on May 19, 2005.
Reporter: The story began when 'Abd Al-Shakur, Mukhtayar's brother, was accused of having romantic ties with a girl from a family of higher class and better lineage. With the discovery of the relationship, which, of course, is considered alarming and unacceptable in such an extremely conservative society, the girl’s family carried out what in their view was blood vengeance.
The decision to take blood vengeance was announced in the village center, in the presence of most of its people, none of whom dared to do anything or object, in accordance with rural customs, which do not allow the weak to be heard. The blood vengeance will only be complete with the defilement of the reputation and honor of 'Abd Al-Shakur's family. The revenge will be carried out on 'Abd Al-Shakur's sister Mukhtayar, who could do nothing but helplessly surrender in spite of all her family and relatives.
In broad daylight, with the full knowledge of the villagers, the rich men of the village and its leaders decided that two men would witness four members of the village elite raping Mukhtayar one after the other, thus violating her honor.
Mukhtayar: I took the Koran and went to apologize to the family of higher status because women’s apologies are accepted in the villages… The Koran kept falling out of my hands and I kept picking it up. I saw most of the villagers going towards the other family’s house. I thought I would apologize and that would be it. But I was surprised when the village chief said: “The sister of our enemy has arrived. Do to her whatever you wish.” I realized what they wanted to do. I began screaming and lifting the Koran to their faces, but my cries were to no avail. They put me in a side room, and the stronger ones held down my father and uncle who were with me. After they put me in the room I continued to call for help, but it did no good. They all raped me…
Reporter: The suspects were taken to jail and from there to court, where five of them were sentenced to death, and a sixth got a life sentence. But another court with wider authority, when the suspects appealed the heavy sentences, acquitted them. The reason was that the evidence against them was weak.