Musharraf denies making rape remarks

Monday, September 19, 2005

Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf, has denied making the comments on rape reported by the Washington Post.

The widespread reporting of the quotes from Musharraf's interview sparked protests on Friday in Pakistan and drew criticism from around the globe, with the Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin, saying that President Musharraf should issue some sort of apology.

Whilst Musharraf may deny the specifics of the comments made, co-author of the Post's interview, Glenn Kessler, has said that the Pakistani President was quoted, "verbatim and in context". That context being a discussion of the treatment given to Mukhtar Mai, a rape victim whose plight was publicised worldwide. Musharraf is quoted as saying, "A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped."

In recent times, Pakistan has seen a growth in activist groups seeking to promote Women's rights in Pakistan. A number of high profile rape cases, including that of Mukhtar Mai, have focused international attention on some of the practices that are commonplace in tribal parts of the country. Activists have accused President Musharraf of not taking the issue seriously, and that tribal elders still condone rape, if not actually ordering it.