Islamabad: Pakistan government on Friday said that it would provide security and legal aid to Mukhtar Mai. The rape-victim who has expressed her disappointment over the Supreme Court ruling upholding acquittal of five of the six accused, has emerged as the symbol of a movement for women's rights.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani has given him directives to provide security to Mai and look into the matter.

Earlier, senior PPP leader and former minister Sherry Rehman raised a point of order and said, “Mai had been fighting for justice from the past nine years and only one of the men accused of raping her was given life imprisonment while the rest were acquitted.”

Sherry Rehman called on the government to file a review petition on behalf of Mukhtar Mai and provide her security as she had expressed concerns about threats to her life from the freed accused.

In 2002, Mai was a seamstress in Meerwala, a small village in Punjab province, when her 12-year-old brother was falsely accused of having an affair with a woman from a powerful clan. To avenge the woman's honour, the village council ordered her gang-rape.

After filing case under an Islamic law and the Anti-Terrorism Act against the 14 suspects, including two members of the village council following which six of the accused, including the two village council members were awarded the death sentence by a lower court in Punjab.

Later on repealing the sentence, Multan bench of the Lahore High Court acquitted five of the six accused and converted the death sentence given to Abdul Khaliq, one of the main accused, to life imprisonment.

(Agencies)