A society in which mothers are killed for giving birth to girls (amongst other things) can’t be called an ethical society. From January 2012 to September 2013, there were 90 acid attacks on women, 72 cases of burning caused by other means, 491 cases of domestic violence, 344 cases of gang rape and 835 cases of other violence. Young girls are being raped in Pakistan while the rest of us just protest loudly — rather than do anything practical.
The month of December, this year, dawned with lots of hopes and expectations for the people of Pakistan as the new government, after the general elections, took an oath, promising peace, good governance and the rule of law for all citizens of Pakistan. Our government now seems committed to pass the Punjab Protection of Family Members from Violence Bill.
The first six months of the year saw increased violence of all sorts throughout the country. Intolerance, deteriorating law and order conditions and the breakdown of management systems have not only weakened state institutions but also challenged the writ of the state itself. Usually, when state institutions are weak, violence against women becomes even more brutal and barbaric. We saw all of this in the beginning of this year.
A recent report by Aurat Foundation on Violence against Women stated that the total number of gender-based violence incidents touched 1,650, in Punjab, this year. In total, we know that 1,858 persons were victimised — 1,752 women and girls faced these heinous crimes along with 106 young men and boys. The majority of the victims are always young girls.
The report focuses on violence against women in Punjab during the third quarter of this year, covering the period from July to September 2013 — apparently the time period focused on turned out to be the deadliest quarter for women and girls so far this year. Out of the year’s total, around 29 per cent cases of abduction and kidnapping were reported during this quarter, along with 15 per cent of rape and gang rape cases, 16 per cent cases of murder and 10 per cent of suicide. One could only hope that the deadliest phase of the year is over for the women of Punjab and the authorities concerned start to understand just how unsafe the women of this country are.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2013.