'Women's safety', a growing concern in Pakistan

·3-min read
Representative image
Representative image

Islamabad [Pakistan] July 8 (ANI): The safety of women has become a growing concern in Pakistan, which has in the recent past witnessed several instances of crimes against women, including rape and other crimes.

The News International in its editorial raised concerns over the rights of women, their dignity and sense of respect in the country. Every day, it said, at least 11 women are raped in the country, and the rape of small girls - and boys - some no older than a few years in age.

Just recently, ugly images involving the sexual assault of a couple were flashed across social media. "This is not a rare occurrence - though the fact that this case's video evidence went viral is what moved the police force to arrest the men responsible," reported the publication.

The daily's editorial pondered on the reasons that drove and empowered monsters like Usman Mirza - the man in the viral video - into thinking they'll get away with their vile acts?

"How is it that our collective outrage (mostly of men) is only reserved for women's clothing or behaviour, but does not find a voice when it comes to cases of violence against women, or the dismal maternal mortality rate, or women's lack of access to education or healthcare?

"What is it about Malala or Aurat March that riles us? Is it the archaic, patriarchal structures we have constructed that can't absorb women stepping out of their male-defined roles? Do we even realise the consequences of the regressive society we have built?", the publication said.

It pointed out that most men in Pakistan expressed their reservations against women's clothing or behaviour, but did not have a voice when it came to cases of violence against women, or the dismal maternal mortality rate, or women's lack of access to education or healthcare.

Scores of women were killed for "honour" by those that are supposed to protect them, the daily said.

Meanwhile, the annual report of State of Human Rights in Pakistan released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) for the year 2020 has set alarm bells ringing over the plight of women in the country.

The report has once again painted a concerning picture of the women's rights situation in the country. It highlights an array of issues impacting the marginalised communities in Pakistan; there has been a special emphasis on the plight of women, with gender discrimination prevalent across the country, reported Pakistan Today.

The gender disparity is witnessed even in subcategories of crimes, including, for instance, persecution of religious minorities, with issues such as forced conversions being witnessed.

Other human rights abuses to target women include child marriage and honour killings, which even though impact men as well, are largely centered on controlling and subjugating women according to experts.

"We must change our mindset on what the fate of young women should be in our society," said Kishwar Enam, a pediatrician and member of Kasur Hamara Hai, a child welfare initiative. "Instead of committing them to marriages, let's send them to school so they can grow up to be healthy, successful and independent individuals; this will help the generations they raise to prosper," she added.

The HRCP has highlighted other forms of violence against women, which include sexual assault and domestic violence prevalent across the country.

The HRCP report cites that last year Pakistan completed the review of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in line with its fifth periodic report.

The report handed over in February this year, at CEDAW's 75th session, put forth its wide-ranging recommendation that underlined the need for national machinery dedicated to gender equality and upholding women's rights. (ANI)

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