Horrors of sexual abuse in conflict-stricken FATA

Published: December 15, 2011

" A security officer forced me to have sex in exchange for cooking oil and pulses," 22-year-old Pashmeena.


Kashmala Bibi* says her cousin’s breasts were cut into pieces when five militants walked into their house and saw the woman breastfeeding her child. One of the insurgents then asked the other women around to eat the pieces.

This is one of the many tales of horror recorded in a report titled “Impact of crisis on women and girls in Fata”.

The report, released by human rights organisation “Khwendo Kor” (Sisters’ Home in Pashto) with financial support from UN-women, is based on case studies of women from the tribal belt living in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s IDP camps.

Women in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) are more susceptible to violence and abuse in a post-conflict scenario, whether or not they are part of the conflict, it says.

Another stark revelation made in the report is that women in camps were forced to have sexual intercourse in exchange for food and non-food items. Girls and widows were at greater risk.

The surveys from Nahqai and Jalozai camps further show that women were uncomfortable going to restrooms because there was little privacy as men constantly lurked around.

“A security officer forced me to have sex in exchange for cooking oil and pulses when I was collecting food at the main entrance of the camp,” a 22-year-old woman Nighat* from the Jalozai Camp is quoted as telling the discussion group.

The report claims that there was an increase in honour killings in which women were first raped and since the rape was considered a disgrace to the family, they were later murdered.

Forced marriages, honour killings, exchange of women between tribes and marriages with first cousins resulting in disabilities of offspring have made the women in the tribal areas increasingly dependent. The role of women in society has decreased from 39% to 19%.

Akhunzada Chattan, an MNA from the Bajaur tribal region, says that certain rituals practiced with the veneration of religion have deprived women of their rights.

“In Bajaur, the area that I come from, usury is not something against which the cleric will stand up, but if a woman demands her share of property she is stigmatised as culturally blasphemous,” he says.

The amendments to the Frontier Crimes Regulation have not significantly helped. Even now women first have to go through a jirga to seek justice. The jirga then decides how to proceed. “Women in Fata cannot directly appeal to any court of law,” says Chattan while speaking to The Express Tribune.

Maryam Bibi, the woman behind the project, who belongs to Jani Khel (FR) Bannu, says the findings of the report are based on ground realities.  “Although it is hard to digest the facts, this is what the women have to go through. Someone has to speak for change.”

(Read: Safer times)

*Names have been changed to protect privacy
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (72)

  • Nadir
    Dec 15, 2011 - 6:07AM

    Unbelievable! Shameful that a country is willing to go to war against America but cant protect its own citizens in FATA leaving people at the mercy of militants on the one hand, and the security apparatus on the other.


  • Nadir
    Dec 15, 2011 - 6:08AM

    And when we negotiate with these people, they will keep their side of the bargain?


  • Parvez Amin
    Dec 15, 2011 - 7:04AM

    In the ultimate analysis, more mouths than food set up the physically stronger men to deny the weaker women their share. It is the law of the jungle in its barest form. The answer is to bring in prosperity in which there is plenty for all. This can happen only through work, work and more work. Until Pakistan has an administration that understands and accepts this ethic, such instances are likely to multiply at an accelerating rate. There are no quick fix solutions.


  • Mehdi Hassan Zafari
    Dec 15, 2011 - 8:04AM

    Terrifying and in sharp contrast with Islamic laws. The people committing these crimes have no right to call themselves Muslims!


  • sohaib
    Dec 15, 2011 - 10:10AM

    why the army is not launching a full fledged operation in these areas??common get a hold now, its high time..


  • Dec 15, 2011 - 10:23AM

    “A security officer forced me to have sex in exchange for cooking oil and pulses when I was collecting food at the main entrance of the camp,” said a 22-year-old woman.
    Shame shame shame! ! !


  • Texan
    Dec 15, 2011 - 10:26AM

    To all the Terrorists/Suicide Bombers/Militants: Shame on you barbarian !!!
    Forget about God …. do you think you are making your mothers proud by all of your actions??? Think about it !!!Recommend

  • PhlyingRPh
    Dec 15, 2011 - 10:31AM

    Disgusting people. Hearing about these stories really makes my blood boil.


  • Furqan
    Dec 15, 2011 - 10:33AM

    @Mehdi Hassan Zafari:
    This is not in contrast but these things are contrary to Islamic Laws, please study then speak, In Islam Woman are graded to a high respectable level. These people who are doing this no nothing about Islamic laws seems like. @Nadir, please read the news again an soldier also rapped a woman for food,not just the terrorists.


  • Dec 15, 2011 - 10:58AM

    It is shameful act, and 100% believe these militant were American/Indian/Israeli not Pakistani…..
    This act is used against Pakistan, and shameful act of Pakistanis that, they believe on Jewish media news against Pakistan…..


  • Dec 15, 2011 - 11:00AM

    Only society in large can play a vital role in this regard to protect the women.

    Muhammad Naeem ul Fateh, PhD


  • Mohammad Zahid
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:16AM

    US Govt n their allies in Pakistan Govt are responsible for this mess. Our land was peaceful prior to Afghan occupation. Same old Iraq story


  • Malatesh
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:47AM

    Shame shame Pakistan…


  • Actually
    Dec 15, 2011 - 12:28PM

    Another attempt by enemies to tarnish muslims and Islam image


  • Ali S
    Dec 15, 2011 - 12:32PM

    Women and children need to be put in isolated camps away from the war-affected areas. Those men are nothing short of animals (in fact, that might be an insult to animals).


  • Mehdi Hassan Zafari
    Dec 15, 2011 - 1:09PM

    @ Furqan: con·trast def. Differ strikingly.


  • Pakistani
    Dec 15, 2011 - 2:00PM

    Shameful act, totally.Un human.


  • Lahoree
    Dec 15, 2011 - 4:40PM

    where are the people to uphold the law? enjoying their life only !!


  • Huma
    Dec 15, 2011 - 5:09PM

    and where is the law and the courts now? wake up!


  • goggi
    Dec 15, 2011 - 5:16PM

    Pakistan is subhanAllah a model society of Islamic values. Isolated cases of above mentioned tantrums, as well as daily rapes, honour killings, karo kari, acid attacks, spousal violence, dowry murders, women kidnappings, boundless red light areas, should certainly not be generalized to tarnish the islamic and humane character of the Pakistani civilized society.


  • Ryan Cherian
    Dec 15, 2011 - 5:40PM

    “Kashmala Bibi* says her cousin’s breasts were cut into pieces when five militants walked into their house and saw the woman breastfeeding her child. One of the insurgents then asked the other women around to eat the pieces.”

    How can someone be so cruel? God do you exist?


  • Babloo
    Dec 15, 2011 - 5:46PM

    The army is incapable of establishing rule of law in FATA. Its waiting to fight USA, NATO whom it can easily defeat.


  • Sajjad Hussain
    Dec 15, 2011 - 5:55PM

    Disgusting and we call ourselves Muslims.


  • Straight_Talk
    Dec 15, 2011 - 6:18PM

    This is how it is in war. I have heard that tamil women in camps in Srilanka went through similar fate after the fall of LTTE recently. Recently in the Indian state of West Bengal there was rampant rape and murder of women in the countryside before the end of Left rule there. In Mugabe’s Zimbabwe i had heard of the story of a school teacher who had to sell sex to barter for necessities to meet the needs of her family ( she was a mother of two ) because Zimbabwe was reeling under hyperinflation and the value of money was almost nothing.

    More painful than death is a disgraceful life. Rape is even more traumatic for you feel like having been through death and then still living on a life of shame and disgrace. Here the victim after going through the cruelty suffer again for a prolonged period ( often even for life ) from a sense of stigma, social isolation, depression, sense of guilt and extreme hopelessness. Rape is potentially psychological, familial and social murder.


  • guru
    Dec 15, 2011 - 6:21PM

    this is future of pakistan.


  • Baba Ji
    Dec 15, 2011 - 6:32PM

    Wait wait wait … oh pulleeeezeee ….

    it is a very very vague report … not supported by any statistics … how many cases ? how all is this substantiated ? Which is this organisation ?

    Human abuse is rampant and common in every war stricken area … please get your facts right … I am sure there would be such incidents, I don’t deny that and I fully deplore such feral behaviour on part of the militants there.

    And to all those eastern neighbours chanting shame shame please read:


    Now thats a report and those are statistics … JUST AS A SMALL EXAMPLE !!!!! or you need more reports ?Recommend

  • shahzad
    Dec 15, 2011 - 6:53PM

    Shame shame crimes against people of pakistan in the name of ……..Recommend

  • ex muslim
    Dec 15, 2011 - 6:57PM

    @Sajjad Hussain:
    dont call, dont force yourself. better to leave this hell in time so that you can enjoy jannat in this and afterlife.


  • Rajan
    Dec 15, 2011 - 7:03PM

    No Muslim has blamed Hindus or Jews yet for this? Shocking.


  • Usafzai
    Dec 15, 2011 - 7:14PM

    Hello everyone.
    could anyone from those areas come forward and confirm what these people are writing. we belong to that areas and believe me its a shock.there is a strong family systems there and these things are to say nearly impossible. a single example or two cannot be made a base for highlighting the whole area. I would like to get some comments from our tribal people. this is absolute crap. Khwendo kor is an NGO in peshwar Arbab road I ve been there for 10 years in peshawar and we didnt see any of their activity. Jalozai camp is deserted since 4 years as people of that camp were send to afghanistan some 4 years before if i m not mistaken. complete fabrication. statistics and sources are extremly unathentic and the whole article is produced just a piece of negative creative imaginationRecommend

  • Ahmee
    Dec 15, 2011 - 8:13PM

    May ALLAH Pak Bless every one with righteous sense of things and may we all realize that we have mothers and sisters in our homes as well…Amen


  • A. Khan
    Dec 15, 2011 - 9:38PM

    We should collectively hang our heads in shame that this is happening in our country. These people need to be caught and punished. Unfortunately, a weak government more interested in keeping its hold on power than serving the people, a president who flies overseas when he coughs for medical treatment, a political party being handed over to a young man barely out of university as family heirloom. How can we ever progress to solve problems facing this nation.


  • Urooj Saifi
    Dec 15, 2011 - 9:48PM

    Sir – you need to get your facts right. Since 2008 Jalozai is the biggest IDP camp and still hosting close to 6,000 families. Open your eyes and do something about the situation instead of living in denial.


  • Cautious
    Dec 15, 2011 - 10:05PM

    You ceded control of this territory to these animals – so you only have yourselves to blame.


    Dec 15, 2011 - 10:23PM

    The civilian govt needs to take control in FATA after security forces take complete or even partial control of this region. The military should have learnt some important lessons from their failures in the past that it cannot perform dual functions of security and adminstration which has resulted in more chaos and resentment amongst the people of this disturbed area.


  • Dec 15, 2011 - 11:16PM

    PROPAGANDA by a “Foreign Funded NGO” to milk funds from the Western Donors (read Masters)…. A Report that suits the whims of the Foreign Masters (for negatively propagating FATA and Pakistan)…
    If anything, the conflict in FATA has never (repeat NEVER) taken this course…
    Both Militants and Security Forces know the “Grave Repercussions” of Crossing the “Red-Lines” i.e. “Never MESS with the Tribesmen’s Womenfolk”… For a conflict of such a huge scale as that of FATA, a case or two can not be ruled out… But compared with conflicts of similar scale anywhere else in the world, the frequency is negligible… Not to suggest that “a case or two” isn’t Worthy of attention, but to “Blow it Out of Proportion”… Well its “PROFESSIONAL DISHONESTY” on the part of the NGO….


  • Shocked
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:39PM


    After all those examples, in essence, what you are saying is that women deserve to be killed or that relatives are doing them a favor by killing them to restore their honor and save them from social death?. You are a disgusting person if you think that way.Recommend

  • muneeb
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:58PM

    what is the point of such an article..shouldn’t it first be reported to the police and the NGOs and DCO & commissioner of the region first esp of the victims in the idp camps..i mean what this article would do to help the victims rather than,create anguish disgust and hatred amongst the already fragmented society


  • Livid
    Dec 16, 2011 - 1:25AM

    @Mohammad Zahid:
    If you seriously think that no atrocities were committed against women and Pakistani citizens by Pakistani citizens prior to this war, you are grossly ignorant.


  • Livid
    Dec 16, 2011 - 1:29AM


    Are you insane or just blind? Pakistani society treats women like crap. I cannot go out to any bazaar or market without worrying about someone groping me. And before you say ‘oh I’m probably dressed provocatively’, I’m not. I’m most often wear loose fitting clothes and am draped with a shawl. Your ignorance towards how morally corrupt our society is only adds to it. I’m not saying everyone is terrible. But there is RAMPANT sexual abuse and harassment. In fact, I can off the top of my head think of two people I know that were either raped or sexually abused in Pakistan. It’s because of people like you that there is so much stigma and people are afraid to talk.

    Open your eyes, do some research, better yet… volunteer with charities and the Edhi Foundation and you’ll see all the terrible things that humanity is capable of.


  • Livid
    Dec 16, 2011 - 1:31AM

    @Baba Ji: One example isn’t enough for you? You want more? Really? Because I think even one case like this is one too many. No one is saying such things don’t occur in other countries– Germany, Yugoslavia, Russia, India, the United States… most countries have horrible crap happen in it. The point this is making is that this is happening in Pakistan as well.


  • Anjum
    Dec 16, 2011 - 1:53AM

    Shameful. But true as some comments: lets get some statistics. How many cases? Even 1-2 are too many. From the headline and article it seems this is widespread. The system is very tribal so if true then some of the local tribal people must know and help to solve the criminal acts.


  • UK
    Dec 16, 2011 - 2:17AM

    Indian trolls on this site without any thing intelligent to say. NOT SHOCKING


  • MK
    Dec 16, 2011 - 2:33AM

    For the sake of argument if we believe that this is true (although not verified by any other independent source) it is a sad case of extreme government negligence and male chauvinism in the society. Gov officials raping women in exchange of food, and men harassing women going to public toilet, exchanging women like commodities to settle disputes and mistakes of male relatives.
    Also it is interesting to see some people chose to completely neglect that in this article and put blame only on militants whose very existence is direct result of former and present government’s policies.
    So end of the day it is government’s responsibility and fault. They can allocate resources and money to conduct operations but nothing for justice (where men trading females and harassing get punished) and education. Still we do not see any government with plans to counter this menace at root level and provide social justice and education to all Pakistanis.


  • FJ
    Dec 16, 2011 - 2:44AM

    Ask Imran Khan how will he address this problem if he is in favour of Jirga system in FATA???


  • Ali Tanoli
    Dec 16, 2011 - 2:53AM

    E.T some time make big bully.


  • Mubarik
    Dec 16, 2011 - 3:00AM

    @Mehdi Hassan Zafari:
    “The people committing these crimes have no right to call themselves Muslims!” Dear Mehdi these people are government certified “Muslims” you can check their identity cards. Please don’t commit Blasphemy by saying that they have no right to call themselves Muslims.


  • Spud
    Dec 16, 2011 - 3:52AM

    @Pakistani Hindu: And such people call themselves Muslims. Where are the Mullahs and others who consider only Hindus, Jews and Christians as enemies and considering these Muslim rapists as one of them. I call on all good Pakistanis to rise against such violence to women.


  • Saleem
    Dec 16, 2011 - 4:20AM

    Is this “version” of Islam we want in Pakistan?

    Is this what Talliban called Shariah that they want to impose across Pakistan?

    Is this what so called mollas preach “real” Islam is?

    All those who support these barbarian materially or verbally are in cohort with those who commit these heinous crimes and asking for Allah’s wreth.


  • Ali Wazir
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:00AM

    Anyone has a link to the report. It does not seem credible.Cant wrap my head how they came up with this statistic:
    “The role of women in society has decreased from 39% to 19%.”
    The methodology based on “Discussion group” of unnamed females is also very suspect.Also mentioning ppl living in camps are uncomfortable going to the restroom is hardly a mind blowing expose, which makes me suspicious of the more serious accusations of the report. There are many atrocities going on in the operation in FATA you can look at Amnesty International or HRW & Beurea of Investigative Journalism which have pretty high quality dependable reports which are well sourced and properly documented. For instance there were cases of Rape and murder which occurred at the start of the Swat operation which were properly documented. They even got mentioned in wikileaks.

    A while back a much publicised report claimed the vast majority of ppl from S. Waziristan supported “drone” strikes. Turned out the very temporary “NGO” (Run by an ANP worker)after publishing the un sourced and frankly concocted report, closed up shop and their website, after that single report. The principle writer got a lucrative job at Bacha Khan university later . A Canadian journalist who followed up on it had serious reservation on its veracity. Recently in Libya there was a similar NGO report of thousands of Mass rapes which latter turned out to be false.Recommend

  • Mehdi Hassan Zafari
    Dec 16, 2011 - 6:56AM

    @ Rajan
    We don’t blame Indians for no reason. Fix India first, if you look at the response of the people of Pakistan you’ll know that everyone condemns these acts. It is not like Bihar where young women are sent to the fields to dance naked so that the goddess of rain would be ashamed and make rain.


  • Amazedand
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:07AM

    It is obvious that it was actually the CIA/MOSSAD/RAW that did all these to bring a bad name to Islam.

    Actually all most all of the people living in FATA are Indian, American and Israeli agents in disguise. Zaid Hamid the great Pakistani Ghazi has even conducted a detailed physical examination of all the citizens of FATA and has declared that not a single one of these people are Muslims.

    If Zaid Hamid says so it must be true.


  • Sindhu Desh
    Dec 16, 2011 - 12:03PM


    You forgot to add:

    -The people who are doing this are not true Muslims
    -Islam gives women more right than any other religion


    -Islam is the religion of peace.


  • Realist.
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:32PM

    Its AMERICA’s War ?
    hey Imran khan can you read that ?


  • bearcat
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:49PM

    How is it wrong to breast feed? In human life and in the animal world this how mammals feed their young. It is perfectly natural. Does it say anything in the Koran not to breast feed? Weren’t these men breast fed as babies?
    They were wrong for entering someone’s private home and acting as judges.


  • Straight_Talk
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:09PM

    I just don’t understand how you arrived to all that. In fact i went back and read my comment again after reading what you have suspected about me. I have said that such extreme crime are rampant in war situations. And that this is an unfortunate truth. Further i wanted to say that this has nothing to do with Af-Pak because this is a predictable crime for any war society.

    Mr Shocked, you are really shocking, aren’t you ?


  • Tariq Javed
    Dec 16, 2011 - 11:39PM

    This is a bogus report made on propaganda theme. What the content shows is rarely observed.and is nearly impossible.


  • PS
    Dec 17, 2011 - 12:33AM

    @Mehdi Hassan Zafari:
    You are a human first then a muslim. Stop preaching every thing from religious angle. Try to be human first. Religion is the last thing a hungry dying person needs.


  • asif khan
    Dec 17, 2011 - 1:11AM

    sohaib@ your army behind that situations .the main problem is our army..
    taliban s supporting by army .they r start fake war .army just want to show usa that we r fighting
    pakistan army dont need the end of war .becoz that crupt gernels earning dollars.our gernales some months before asking to the nation that shamsi air base under control of pakistan .but some days before vacate from USA .pakistan army openly given permission to politicians for cruption


  • Dec 17, 2011 - 1:19AM

    Hello everyone.
    could anyone from those areas come forward and confirm what these people are writing. we belong to that areas and believe me its a shock.there is a strong family systems there and these things are to say nearly impossible. a single example or two cannot be made a base for highlighting the whole area. I would like to get some comments from our tribal people. this is absolute crap. Khwendo kor is an NGO in peshwar Arbab road I ve been there for 10 years in peshawar and we didnt see any of their activity. Jalozai camp is deserted since 4 years as people of that camp were send to afghanistan some 4 years before if i m not mistaken. complete fabrication. statistics and sources are extremly unathentic and the whole article is produced just a piece of negative creative imagination

    this is totally wrong news ..we belong to the same area ..this is fake news .dont believe on that


  • Dec 17, 2011 - 1:42AM


    this is Fake news its not true


  • Gul Marjan
    Dec 17, 2011 - 12:35PM

    But Pakistan is calling them good Taliban and strategic assets of the country


  • tanweer khan yousafzai
    Dec 17, 2011 - 3:09PM

    No philosophy can change the fact that the insurgents and militants belong to ISAF forces and nNATO supported militants. there is found not a single evidence that Taliban are operating in pakistan.
    before the militants invaded fata, there could hardly be found such incidents in history.Why under taliban rule in afghanistan the cultivation of poppy was banned n stopped? how theft, gang rape, robbery was eliminated? how the business community did left their shops open without any locks?The people of afghanistan now severely missing the taliban rule.As having a strong word against the taliban, i appreciate all their actions what did they do for peace.We should not throw the filth of US LEADING FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN on Taliban.Recommend

  • Maria
    Dec 17, 2011 - 11:27PM

    Remember where these reports come from and how they are supposed to make you feel. This is the aim of anti state people who are engaged in propaganda.


  • goggi
    Dec 18, 2011 - 12:24AM

    Very sorry to cause you unnecessary grief. My dear you have merely read the words, but unfortunately, your mind did not understand the hidden sarcasm of my comment which is full of bitterness, mockery and anger for our chauvinistic society. I would suggest you to read again the comment from another perspective!Recommend

  • Shama
    Dec 18, 2011 - 3:08PM

    barbarism has not much to do with religion… it is a product of power politics and lack of accountability…when we want to fix things, we do fix them… we have the infrastructure as well as the ability… but do we have the will?


  • Libby
    Dec 20, 2011 - 9:19AM

    The problem with this story is that it is not verified. The women is referred to by a first name only, and there is no date or location of the tale.

    On the face of it, it is not a likely story.

    However, it gets people going. Just like the stories about Iraqi troops dumping premature babies out of incubators in Kuwait.


  • Dr. George R. Rivera, Jr.
    Dec 20, 2011 - 1:07PM

    @Mohammad Zahid:
    So then, am I to assume that if your assertions are true then all was sweetness and light under the Taliban? This entire situation is the responsibility of Zionists and the Great Satan America? An interesting exercise in self delusion, this . . .


  • Pashtun
    Dec 21, 2011 - 3:03AM

    Welcome to Pakistan. No wonder, part of typical treatment meeting out to second class citizens: the Pashtuns.


  • Shankar
    Jan 1, 2012 - 10:52PM

    @Mehdi Hassan Zafari:
    dude…..the fact is that even the guy who has perpeterated it will condemn it in public, but will be enjoying it. You pakis are hypocrites Recommend

  • ashfaq
    Jan 10, 2012 - 1:44PM

    Do you still think that a security officer in Pakistan would be from other country..?


  • Krishna
    Jan 10, 2012 - 4:23PM

    Dear All
    I am from India and am not hiding or pretending to be from Pakistan.. Such crimes do happen everywhere in world including India and Pakistan as well.. The role of society and govt. should be to bring such animals to justice whosoever they are, whichever religion they belong to. I don’t feel such animals can belong to any religion or even families.. These are mad animals who need to be treated in same manner. I shudder to think anyone can do such henious crime in life but animals are everywhere we know..


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