The heinous murder of Noor Mukadam in a posh facility of Islamabad has jolted the whole society, particularly women, yet again. In response to the latest episode of brutality, many women across the country have taken to the streets in protest demanding justice for Noor and many other women subjected to violence in recent incidents. However, these calls have once again fallen on deaf ears. The relevant authorities have yet again failed to serve justice to victims of violence.
Earlier this year, in an interview with HBO Max, Prime Minister Imran Khan justified the vile behaviour of men by blaming it on the women’s choice of clothing. Such misogynistic statements embolden men to commit acts of violence against women and children. The PM’s statement signals to the perpetrators that it is upon the women to protect and safeguard themselves. The perpetrators are therefore aware that the legal system will offer them leverage over their victims. This became evident through the early release from jail of Shah Hussain, the man who stabbed a young girl, Khadija, 23 times. Hussain only served three and a half years in jail against a five-year sentence.
As a PTI voter, it is impossible for me not to condemn the dangerous victim-blaming narrative that PM Khan has established in response to increased violence against women. The PM needs to bear in mind that the majority of his voters included women who hoped for a systemic change regarding the well-being and safety of the female population of Pakistan. Unfortunately, his inaction has continued to make women feel unsafe in ‘Naya Pakistan’.
I request the PM to recognise the ongoing femicide and offer the female citizens safety and protection to relieve them of their collective trauma. He needs to ensure that justice is served to the victims and their families. Furthermore, the domestic violence bill needs to be implemented rigorously. Without such measures, women will continue to feel unsafe and berated by the country and its authorities.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2021.