Islamabad, Nov 2: Mukhtaran Mai, the gang rape survivor of Pakistan who works towards bettering the lives of women in her village, walked the ramp for a fashion week in Karachi.

Designer Rozina Munib chose to have the gang rape survivor and women’s rights activist Mukhataran as a showstopper at the Fashion Pakistan Week in order to convey a message of her valour and bravery to women facing adverse situations.

Mukhataran wore traditional wedding wear designed by Rozina, with her head remaining covered the way she keeps it.

Mukhtaran Mai runs a sanctuary cum shelter for women and children in her native Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province.

A symbol of hope for the neglected victims of violence, Mukhtaran said she was at the show to spread awareness about women’s struggles, those shunned by the society as well as their families.

Ahead of the show, designer Rozina told Dawn: “I have no intention of glamourising her into a model for the show. She will be wearing the kind of clothes that she would normally wear to a wedding.

“The purpose behind bringing her to Karachi and making her a part of my show is to tell her story so that it gives courage to other women.

“Mukhtaran suffered terribly but instead of committing suicide or succumbing to depression she stood up for her rights. She won against all odds and moved on with her life. She has remarried now and runs a sanctuary where she provides shelter to women and helps them in becoming self-sufficient.”

“It is Mukhtaran’s story that inspired me to call my collection ‘Zindagi ke Rang’. Life brings its share of pain but one has to be strong enough to rise above it,” Rozina added.

A short film by Asad-ul-Haq highlighting Mukhtaran’s work for her village’s women was shown at the event.

Mukhtaran was ordered to be gang-raped by a tribal council in 2002 after her 12-year-old brother Shakoor was accused of having an affair with a woman of the superior Mastoi tribe.

All the accused were acquitted by the Pakistan Supreme Court.

Shalini Singh

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