Friday, August 2, 2013

Who is Responsible?

Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic magnitude around the globe. At least one out of every three women around the world has been the victim of violation, beaten by the dominants, intimidated into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime or suffered domestic violence. For the Elimination of Violence against Women, in 1999, the UN General Assembly selected 25 November as the International Day to raise the awareness among the people of the world to stop such inhuman activities against women.
According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation expert poll (June 2011) Pakistan is ranked third dangerous country of the world for the women due to the high crime magnitude against women whereas Afghanistan is ranked as first dangerous country and Congo as second, India as forth and Somalia as fifth country for women and girls due to a barrage of threats ranging from violence and rape to dismal health-care, domestic violence and honor killings. The report states that 90 % women in Pakistan are suffering domestic violence, based on assessments by gender experts, while one in every three experiences some form of violence such as rape, honor killing, immolation, acid attacks, murdering and verbal or psychological abuse.
There is 13 % increase in crime rate against women in the last three years according to the police stations, courts and complaint cells whereas most of the cases are not reported due to social norms, self-respect, domestic preventions and cultural taboos.
The cases of violation against the women in 2011 which were reported to the police stations, courts, complaint cells and other organizations are estimated by different resources which defines crime magnitude as some 3,035 cases of violence against women in Punjab, 1,195 women had been murdered, 98 had been raped before they were killed, 321 women were raped, and 194 were gang-raped. This is a little snapshot of the crime magnitude against the women and girls in Pakistan in 2011.
After such gruesome activities take place in the country some questions spring in the mind of any sensible person regarding women rights such as where are the law enforcement organizations? What role are they playing in protecting the women rights? What the judiciary is implementing to forbid such criminal accidents? Where are the NGOs which claim to fight for the women rights? Isn’t there any act in the constitution designed to stop violation against women if yes then why it is not being implemented by the authorities?
There is no need to look so far into the history of law enforcement to protect women rights, let’s take into account the recent bill which is passed in 2011 demanding greater social protection for women. The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Act 2011, authored by PML-Q MNA Dr. Donya Aziz, was unanimously passed by the National Assembly as well as the Senate. Amendments which are introduced in the Act 2011 include forcing a woman into marriage for settling a dispute to be a non-bailable offence, bartering a woman in such a way to be punishable by three to five years imprisonment and a fine of Rs0.5 million, depriving a woman of her inheritance can lead to imprisonment of between five and 10 years or a fine of Rs 1 million, Forced marriages to be punishable by between three and 10 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 0.5 million, throwing acid on women will be hanged or imprisoned and forcing a woman to “marry” the Holy Quran to result in a jail term of three to seven years and a fine of Rs 0.5 million.

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