Almost 90 per cent of women in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) have been subjected to domestic violence at least once in their lives. This was the consensus among speakers during a seminar on gender-based violence held at a local hotel on Thursday.
The seminar stressed on the fact that most women are subjected to physical abuse, mental torture and in some cases, even sexual abuse at home, which often go unreported due to lack of education and tribal norms.
The participants, comprising researchers, human rights activists, journalists and government officials, demanded immediate measures to address the issue.
“There is an urgent need to extend all national and international laws concerning women to G-B to check the increasing cases of violence,” said Yasmeen Nazar, parliamentary secretary for planning and law.
In addition to that, speakers also stressed on the role of men in uprooting the menace by ensuring the rights enshrined for women in religious teachings.
Sher Azam, the coordinator of Trust for Community Empowerment, a non-governmental organisation which organised the event, said women will continue to bear the brunt of violence until collective and coercive measures are taken. “This is the need of the hour and this is what society wants,” he remarked.
Nasreen Nasir, who has won a gallantry award in the past, said Islam guarantees equal rights for men and women, adding that more efforts are needed to curb domestic violence in the region.
At the end of the seminar, participants were asked to sign a petition to introduce laws concerning women in the region, which will be submitted to the concerned authorities.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2012.