Rage as Faisalabad women paraded naked over theft suspicion

Horrific scenes of violence trigger outrage; activists blame the state for being ‘complicit’

KASHIF FARID/Hamza Rao December 07, 2021


In a harrowing incident of patriarchal violence, four women were disrobed, tortured and paraded through a Faisalabad bazaar in broad daylight by a group of men who accused them of shoplifting.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered at the Millat Town police station against four suspects — Saddam, the owner of Usman Electric Store, and his employee, Faisal, Zaheer Anwar, and Faqeer Hussain, the owner of a sanitary products' shop — and 10 unidentified suspects on behalf of one of the victims.

The shocking assault was captured on disturbing video clips, which went viral and showed a group of men descend on women as they cry out for mercy. The horrifying footage showed the fearful women wearing nothing but a piece of cloth barely covering their body, as they walked through the streets.

The women, including one teenager, were seen in the viral video pleading to the people surrounding them to let them have a piece of cloth to cover themselves after being stripped but they were beaten with sticks.

In the FIR, the complainant, a garbage-picker, said she went to Bawa Chak Market with three other women to collect garbage on Monday at around 10:30am.

She told the police that they were thirsty and went inside a shop and asked for a bottle of water from the owner of the shop. But the owner began shouting at them, accusing them of entering his shop with the intention to steal, the FIR said, adding that other suspects also reached the shop upon hearing him shouting.Image

"They continued to beat us for around an hour and made our videos in naked condition," the FIR quoted the complainant as saying.

"The suspects committed gross injustice by stripping us, dragging us through the market and torturing us and strict action should be taken against them," the complainant said in the FIR.
Many people gathered on the spot and managed to get the victims freed.

The police have arrested the owner of the store, Saddam, Faisal, Zaheer Anwar and Faqir Hussain and registered a case against the accused under sections 354 A-509-147-149 TP.
Raids are being conducted to arrest the remaining accused.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also sought a report from the RPO of Faisalabad on the incident and ordered the official to take action against the culprits.

State’s writ withering away?

The horrifying incident, which took place just a few days after the brutal mob lynching in Sialkot, and amid a wave of violence already assaulting the nation has pushed the shame and agony a few more notches up, with many blaming the state for not doing enough.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Nighat Dad, a human rights lawyer, said the horrific incident and the impunity with which it was carried out was “symptomatic of cracks within the country’s spotty law enforcement”.

Nighat noted that one of the underlying causes of the state of affairs was the state’s apathy. “The state appears to wash its hands free of responsibility by merely enacting and celebrating laws,” she said, adding that it was high time that the state actively intervenes and resolves the loopholes in the implementation of these laws.

“When the culprit knows that he can get off scot-free even after committing such heinous crimes, the crime rate will continue to soar.”

She said the state was virtually “emboldening such elements,” and pointed to what she described as “failure” on the part of the state to ensure fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

The rights lawyers went on to say that the key social issues behind the crisis remain unaddressed and the culture of impunity for gender-based crimes remains firmly embedded.

“The fact that these men film gruesome acts of violence and then go on to post them online speaks volumes about how not only the pervasive misogyny structures our very society but also about it has been tacitly nurtured.”

The horrific scenes of violence against the women fuels outrage as the wave of repulsion envelopes the nation after the spine-chilling mob lynching of Sri Lankan national in Sialkot on blasphemy allegations.

Journalist Iftikhar Firdous conveyed his disgust on Twitter. "Women are stripped naked and beaten in Faisalabad for allegedly being involved in a robbery in the middle of the road. There is something seriously gone wrong in this country!"

Journalist Reem Khurshid expressed concern over how pervasive violence against women has become across the country.

"Content warning: Another day, another incident of mass violence: two women beaten, stripped and paraded in public in Faisalabad. This is happening with mind-numbing regularity."







Ghazi Alom Wala | 1 month ago | Reply

Imagine you being arrested like this just because women were naked. How pathetic is this country no sense of dignity for men only a female supremacist.

Hasan Ali | 1 month ago | Reply

The full CCTV footage clearly shows the woman tore her clothes herself. The man had no role at all neither any parade took place.

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