Activists seek Musharraf's apology for "rape remarks"

An insult to all Pakistani women, protesters say

ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of rights activists rallied in the Pakistani capital on Thursday, demanding President Gen. Pervez Musharraf apologise for reportedly saying women in the country get raped to make money and get a visa.

``We strongly condemn and denounce ... Musharraf's remarks against women survivors of rape in a Washington Post interview'' during his recent tour to New York, said Hina Jillani, a top human rights activist.

Addressing the women protesters, she said Gen. Musharraf's remarks were an insult to all Pakistani women and demanded an ``unqualified apology'' from him.

"Visa gamble"

The protest came 10 days after Gen. Musharraf told the newspaper that a lot of people in his country say ``if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.''

Though Gen. Musharraf says he only repeated what he had heard elsewhere, women say he should have been careful in choosing his words about rape victims.

According to a Pakistani human rights group, hundreds of women are killed here each year in the name of family honour, mostly in deeply conservative rural areas, after they are accused of having affairs.

Rejected lovers also sometimes throw acid on women to disfigure them. — AP

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