A Reuters Report says that Pakistani diplomats pressurised the UN to cancel Mukhtar Mia’s interview planned to be held at the UN, so that it didn’t upstage Shaukat Aziz’s visit to the UN scheduled for the same day.
Last year Shaukat Aziz had to postpone his trip to Washington because it closely followed Indian PM Manmohan Singh’s triumphant visit to the US capital, where not only was Singh accorded much time at the White House but was given the distinction of addressing a Joint Session of the US Congress.
I am sure it is extremely difficult for Aziz to accept the fact that no one in Pakistan, perhaps with the exception of his family and close friends, takes his position as ‘prime minister’ particularly seriously. In all likelihood, adding to this prevailing pain is the fact that he is regarded in Washington as no more than Musharraf’s ‘democratic’ flunkey. In other words, Aziz is probably only too well aware that whatever little fanfare he gets in the US capital is just a result of an insincere and role-playing ‘regard’ that the US has to officially show for Pakistan’s so-called ‘democracy’.
Not surprisingly Aziz’s already battered ego can only take so much. The idea of another international humiliation was probably more than his mind could bear; so Mukhtar Mia’s UN interview simply just had to be nixed.
While Aziz has lamely tried to feign ignorance on the rushed cancellation of Mukhtar Mai’s interview ("I have no idea," he said. "I have no idea how the [UN] functions."), your Blogger doesn’t believe a word he said on this occasion, nor, as a matter fact, has he believed many a thing Aziz has uttered on numerous past occasions.
Anyhow here is the Reuters report as published in the Boston Globe
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations, under pressure from Pakistani diplomats, barred an interview with a rape victim from Pakistan while the country's prime minister was at U.N. headquarters, her sponsors said on Friday.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told a news conference he was unaware of the controversy and had supported the campaign waged by Mukhtaran Mai.
"I have no idea," he said. "I have no idea how the place functions."
Mai, a 33-year old peasant woman was gang-raped in 2002 on orders of a local council for an offense committed by her brother and forced to walk home nearly naked before a jeering crowd. She prosecuted her attackers and became a women's rights leader.
The New York-based charity Virtue Foundation had set up several interviews with Mai at the United Nations on Friday, the main one being conducted by CNN.
"Faced with pressure from Pakistan's mission to the United Nations, which asked them to cancel the event, it was canceled at 8 p.m. last night," said Joseph Salim, founder and executive director of the foundation.
U.N. sources said Pakistani envoys did not want to detract attention from the prime minister's visit. Pakistani diplomats were not immediately available for comment.
…Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was not always supportive of Mai. Last year, he banned her from traveling to the United States so she would not "malign Pakistan" and said getting raped had become a "money-making" concern. The government relented after international protests.
From the US National Review:
SHAMEFUL, CRAVENLY U.N. VS. “THE BRAVEST WOMAN ON EARTH"
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 20 - Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani woman whose defiant response to being gang-raped by order of a tribal court brought her worldwide attention, was denied a chance to speak at the United Nations on Friday after Pakistan protested that it was the same day the country's prime minister was visiting.
Ms. Mai had long been scheduled to make an appearance called "An Interview With Mukhtar Mai: The Bravest Woman on Earth" in the United Nations television studios, sponsored by the office for nongovernmental organizations, the Virtue Foundation and the Asian-American Network Against Abuse of Human Rights.
But on Thursday night the organizers were informed that the program would have to be postponed because of Pakistan's objections.
Ms. Mai is leaving New York on Saturday so the effect was to cancel her appearance.