SARGODHA: The gruesome killing of a 22-year-old girl in Gujranwala, over not bringing a bike for her husband as part of dowry, as published in The Express Tribune on March 22, reveals how such ignominious traditions instigate violence against women. While the society is polarised over the nature of the Women Protection Bill passed by the Punjab Assembly, incidents of violence continue unabated. Dowry death is considered one of the many categories of violence against women. At over 2,000 dowry-related deaths per year, Pakistan has the highest reported number of dowry deaths per 100,000 women in the world. It is, indeed, a matter of shame that Pakistan tops the rate of women killed in the name of dowry
The state has passed a toothless law, Pakistan’s Dowry and Marriage Gifts (Restriction) Bill, 2008, that completely fails to restrict dowry and bring relief to women. Though the laws will surely help in restraining violence, it is through the revamping of mindsets, whereby violence against women can be fought. The government, in collaboration with media and civil society, needs to push for a comprehensive programme for community sensitisation and discouragement of traditions like dowry.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2016.