Due to various factors, women in Muslim countries especially Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen & Syria are at the receiving end for the failure of a state as a whole. Acid attacks, rapes, murders, infanticide, sexual exploitation the list of atrocities on women is shameful. The big question is that, are these women supposed to live in fear forever? Who is responsible for protecting these vulnerable women if not the state machinery?
On Sunday morning, a 16-year-old, who was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint from her home in Rawalpindi and later allegedly sexually assaulted by two men for multiple days, died at her home. Police say they have now arrested the two main suspects in the case. The victim’s family says she had been abducted by one of the two suspects on the night of August 8. The next morning, when the family went to search for the girl on their own, a man named Javed from the neighboring village approached the girl’s father and told them that their daughter was in Chakwal and offered to help recover her but only if the family pays him Rs 3,000.
The family paid Javed the money the same day and he told them that their daughter would return home within two hours. She though did not return. The girl’s father kept calling Javed’s number throughout the night but he never picked up. The girl’s father said that he even went to Javed’s house in the morning and found his daughter there in a semi-conscious state.
Javed claimed that he had just brought her back from Chakwal and handed the girl over to his father. When the girl reached her home, she started crying and told her family that she had been kidnapped at gunpoint from the roof of her house on the night of August 8 and was taken to Javed’s house in the neighboring village.
Her family later told the police that she was allegedly kept in Javed’s house for two days where both Javed and Imran took turns to rape her. The police subsequently registered a rape case against the two suspects. However, they did not arrest them until the girl died early on Sunday morning and the case attracted media attention. The girl’s family told The Express Tribune that she had been unwell ever since the incident.
“She threw up and died soon afterward at around 5 am today,” a family member said. She was taken to a hospital for a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death.
The brutal rape and murder of the 16-year-old is not a one-off incident. As many as 11 cases of child sexual abuse are reported from across Pakistan every day, according to data collected by non-governmental organization Sahil. Even in Kasur which became the center of a massive child abuse case in 2014 and 2015, the rape and murders of 12 minor girls, all aged between five to eight years, have been reported in the past twelve months. According to reports in the media, Aimaan Fatima, Fauzia, Noor Fatima, Sana, Asma and Laiba were among minors kidnapped from the suburbs of Kasur in 2017 and whose dead bodies were later recovered from different parts of the city.
Shocking reports reveal that in majority cases acquaintances responsible for such hideous acts
Another report suggests that of the total reported cases of sexual abuse in the first six months of 2017-18, 45 percent of the cases were committed by acquaintances, while another 17 percent of the horrific crimes were carried out by acquaintances and strangers. Of all cases, 15 percent of the crimes were committed at the victim’s own place, while 12 percent were said to have taken place at an acquaintance’s place.
What does this indicate?
A dangerous mindset plaguing Pakistani society is out in the open now. How can police protect girls from own family and friends? It is a pity that the girls in Pakistan are subjected to such heinous acts by no other but male members who they call family.
Few reports suggest that one in every five girls in Pakistan suffers sexual abuse. Such atrocities on girls/women exist for long and reflect a dangerous mindset. Due to various factors, women in Muslim countries are at the receiving end for the failure of a state as a whole. Security personnel’s colluding with culprits is heinous and should be unpardonable. According to experts by the Thomson Reuters Foundation Poll, Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for women in the world. It cited the more than 2,000 women and girls murdered in “honor killings” every year and reported that 90 percent of Pakistani women suffer from domestic violence.
What makes it more difficult for women in Pakistan is that should she speak up about physical or sexual abuse, she is seen as having lost her and her family’s dignity. For the same reason, many rapes and sexual tortures go unreported as the victim fears she will become worthless in Pakistani society. According to Farzana Majeed Baluch, a Baloch human rights activist, human rights violations committed by Pakistan in Baluchistan and the army targeting Baluch women was as bad as the torture and rape of women that took place during the Liberation War of 1971. It is unfortunate that the Pakistani government is a puppet in the hands of the military and the state machinery is a failure so the question is who will address the plight of these victims?
PTI ‘s promise of a “Naya Pakistan” seems to be a distant dream. First PTI needs to get its own house in order. PTI female members face constant harassment within the party.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Ayesha Gulalai exited from the party citing ‘ill-treatment’ of women in the party. Gulalai alleges inappropriate behavior, corruption in PTI.“In our meetings, Imran Khan tells us how to attack our opponents and how to besmirch their names,” she alleged.
Another female politician, Naz Baloch, had also quit the party claiming that only male members were given importance and women party workers were kept at a distance.
In September 2012, Shireen Mazari decided to leave Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) due to rude remarks that were being passed around by ex-party members. She, along with her daughter, was called ‘prostitutes’. In an interview, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Sheikh Aftab, replied to a question asked by Shireen Mazari as to what international standards of security were being observed at the airports by saying, “In airports abroad, they also strip-search you. Is that the international standard she wants?”
It’s about time that Pakistan realizes that true democracy is when women are able to live safely in their own country.
20 Aug 18/Monday. Written by Afsana