Mon, 05 Dec 2011 10:12:12 GMT

Pakistan''s Mukhtar Mai blessed with baby boy

Lahore, Dec 5 (PTI) Mukhtar Mai, who shot to prominence after she stood up to the men who gang raped her on the orders of a village council in Pakistan''s Punjab province nearly a decade ago, has given a birth to a boy.

The baby was born last evening in the private clinic of a doctor in Multan city, 350 km from the Punjab capital of Lahore.

40-year-old Mai had married a police official of Muzaffargarh, a district adjoining Multan, in 2009.

"Both the mother and the baby are healthy. The delivery was performed by gynaecologist Nasim Akhtar at her clinic at about 4.30 pm on Sunday," Asad Abbas, Mai''s brother, told PTI.

Abbas said the entire family was happy at the birth of the boy, saying this was the first good news received by Mukhtar Mai''s relatives after a long time.

The family, including Mukhtar Mai, had received congratulatory calls from across Pakistan and other countries, he said.

The baby was delivered by Caesarian section two weeks prematurely, hospital officials said.

They too said the mother and baby were in good health.

Mai was gang raped in June 2002 on the orders of a panchayat as punishment after her younger brother was accused of having illicit relations with a woman from a rival clan.

The brother was just 12 years old at the time of the incident in Meerwala village.

While other women brutalised in so-called "honour crimes" are usually shunned, Mai''s family embraced her and took her to the authorities.

The imam in her village preached against the outrage.

In June 2002, a case was filed under an Islamic law and the Anti-Terrorism Act against 14 suspects, including two members of the village council.

In August the same year, a lower court in Punjab awarded the death sentence to six of the accused, including the two village council members, and acquitted the other eight suspects.

However, in March 2005, the Multan bench of the Lahore High Court acted on an appeal filed by the accused and struck down the lower court''s order.

It acquitted five of the six accused and converted the death sentence give to one of the main accused to life imprisonment.

In April this year, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court''s order.

Mai subsequently sought a review of the apex court''s ruling.

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