As the struggle to fight violence against women gains momentum, 12 women have been killed and five cases of violence against women were reported in Hazara division this year, according to the police.
However, human rights activists believe the number of cases is much higher since murders of women are often presented as accidental death or suicide, while violence against women is not recognised as a crime.
Police record suggests that five women and three men have been killed in the name of honour in Kohistan, Torghar, Battagram and Mansehra this year.
Another person accused of illicit relations survived bullet wounds after assailants opened fire in Kohistan.
In addition to that, four women are said to have committed suicide in unexplained circumstances this year, while a married woman was set ablaze and allegedly killed by her in-laws in Haripur over a domestic dispute,
A woman was also shot dead by her relatives, reportedly over a property dispute and a 40-year old woman died when she accidentally touched a barbed electric wire while crossing through fields.
Of the four women who committed suicide, one of them hanged herself from a ceiling fan after she failed to convince a boy to stop harassing her on her cell phone near Abbottabad. According to her letter written before her death, she was afraid to spark an enmity if her family found out that the boy was threatening her.
Apart from that, two married women were gang-raped in Haripur, while two women, including a teenaged girl, attempted suicide. A newly-wed woman from Abbottabad district was battered and had to be hospitalised for failing to bring dowry.
A married woman was disrobed when she resisted an attempt by two intruders to rape her.
Another woman reportedly set herself on fire because she could not bear her in-laws’ taunts for giving birth to four girls in Haripur. She was, however, rescued and hospitalised for burn injuries.
The highest number of murders allegedly to ‘protect’ honour were committed in Kohistan, where four persons; two women and two men, were gunned down in the last week of December 2011.
There was just one case of violence perpetrated by a wife in Hazara. Sehrish Bibi from Haripur was booked for setting her husband on fire after he refused to grant her divorce. The injured died in the hospital the same day, said the police.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2012.