EXCERPT: House Of Women
The book explores tribal traditions and lifestyles in Pakistan and tries to reconstruct both sides of the story to unearth the truth behind the alleged gang-rape of a Pakistani village woman.
November 2005, Mirwala
‘She was his bride!’ the old widow hollers in autumn sunshine, surrounded by rag-clothed grandchildren.
Gold studding her bulbous nose, the matriarch of the house where Mukhtar says she was assaulted rocks, sobs, and pulls on the tattered corners of a thin purple floral shawl pyramiding her face, and wipes her raging tears.
‘We never took their girl! They are telling lies to you and everyone! To take a girl and do such things to her does not exist in Islam. Muslims and Islam know no activity like this.’
Taj Mai Mastoi, somewhere in her 60s, cries on a charpoy in her dust-blown courtyard.
‘No-one realises we also are Muslims!’
She clutches her knee to her chin between outbursts of spitting rage.
‘There was no rape!’ she fires. ‘There was not even a panchayat! She came as a bride.’ Continue reading