Violence against women: Where is justice when we need it?

The gang-rape case of Anwar Bibi is another example of how violence against women is completely ignored as an issue.

Sehrish Wasif December 29, 2010
The issue of violence against women in our country is, unfortunately, one that has existed for far too long. Many women still await justice against the brutalities that have made their lives miserable. Anwari Bibi, a resident of Ghotki and a mother of four children, was one of them.

She was gang raped by her brother-in-law and his companions while pregnant. After her husband took custody of her children and divorced her, she came to Islamabad to knock at the doors of the self-proclaimed representatives of justice. She returned home not too long after, empty handed.

Being a reporter, and more importantly a woman, it was incredibly challenging for me to do her story justice, but I attempted it with the hope that maybe the so-called leaders of our country would take notice.

In order to take one step further, I approached the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Women Development Yasmeen Rehman after being inspired by her tall claims about the government’s initiatives of empowering women and shared with her Bibi’s story.

She asked me to email my article to her so that she can take up the issue in the parliament. However, after few days I called her to get an update and was left flabbergasted when she told me that for the past three or four days she was busy inaugurating cultural events at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA).

The issue was also raised by Kamran Shahid, in his program FrontLine on Express News, in which he aired Bibi’s interview and invited Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaulla as well as renowned social activist Dr Fouzia Saeed.

Contrary to their reputed titles, both guests criticised the show’s host for raising such issues in order to seek fame, and blamed the media for discouraging common people from seeking justice by highlighting such stories. But, was anything done for Bibi? No.

After struggling for six months, Bibi failed to get any help or justice from those in the position to actually do something.

However, I recently learned that a man, a banker by profession who lives near Multan, proposed to Bibi after he was made aware of her circumstances. They will be getting married on December 24, 2010.
Sehrish Wasif
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Maqbool Mahmood Farhat | 12 years ago | Reply It is a great tragedy for Muslim Ummah which has been ostracised from mankind by the myopic archaic and extreme orthodoxy as propounded by people like Amir Jamat –e-Islami Munawwar Hussain and the ilk in extolling the Hadood laws. These Hadood laws put a raped victim behind the bars and let the rapist roam the earth dauntingly. These man-made (Un-Quranic & Un-Islamic) Hadood laws state that four pious, God fearing persons must testify that they had seen the man penetrating his organ in the woman body. Never ever on earth a woman will be able to produce (because the onus of proof is on the woman) 4 witnesses. This law has made a mockery of the institution of justice. Perhaps such barbarism was not even heard of in dark ages. Rape is a heinous criminal offence. In this high technological age prosecution can gather enough evidence of rape by lab test of rapist semen, his saliva, DNA etc medical report of woman private parts, her trauma etc. It has nothing to do with producing 4 witnesses. The condition of 4 witnesses ( men or women or both) relates to prove that a certain woman is lewd or permissive, immoral behaviour easily noticed by others (men &women ) See below Surah 4 ( Al-Nisa) verse 15 If any of your women commit indecency, take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst yourselves. If they are proven guilty, restrict their movement by confining them to their houses for life or until Allah opens out a way for them. The same applies to Sodomy (Gay men) (16) If two men from amongst you are found guilty of something similar, punish them. But if they repent and make amends, then leave them alone. The divine system makes room for repentance and thereafter the restoration of the means of development. Coming to actual sexual act, even married couple does it behind closed doors totally away from any prying eye. Regarding immoral sex (outside wedlock life) in Islam, man and woman each gets 100 lashes. There is no mention of stoning to death of adulterer or adulteress (n Zani & Zania. I can devolve on it on another occasion. However for Zina (illicit cohabitation) see Surah 24 ( Al-Noor) see verse 3 and particularly verse 4 and realise how much importance Allah gives to woman folk. (3) Zina (illicit sexual intercourse) is not an ordinary offence. If you analyze it carefully, the only woman who would agree to such sexual contact is one who does not consider her chastity to be a permanent value; or who becomes subservient to her passions (instead of the divine laws) and surrenders to every urge (45:23). Similarly, the only man who agrees to having such sexual intercourse is one who surrenders to his passions and does not differentiate between human and animal life. (Thus zina can only take place when both the man and woman are driven by similar desires - 24:26. If even one of them wants to remain chaste, there is no possibility of such an act ever taking place. That is why the punishment for zina is equal for both, the man and the woman). Such a relationship is forbidden for momineen. (4) Since chastity is regarded as a very precious virtue and a permanent value, every step should be taken to protect and safeguard it. In this context, it is hereby decreed that those who accuse a virtuous woman and fail to bring in four witnesses in support of their accusation, shall be flogged with eighty lashes and thereafter never again be accepted as a witness. (Deprive them of the civic rights which are normally availed by all citizens; and if even that does not deter them then inflict a severer punishment on them - 24:23.) This is because they have abandoned the right path and have become wicked transgressors. Maqbool Farhat
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