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Pakistan women opponents threatened and intimated Asian Human Rights Commission ’Gravely Concerned’

15 May, 2007

By Farzana Raja


KARACHI, Pakistan: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has deplored the threat to opposition female members of Karachi’s City Council by members of General Musharaf’s regime.

PPP Parliamentarian Naheed Khan called upon the regime to take notice of the threats made by the Mutahida Qoumi Movement (MQM), part of President Pervez Musharraf’s ruling coalition in Pakistan.

The incident occurred on April 26, 2007. Four female opposition members were "severely beaten" and suffered injuries along with six male members who tried to defend them.

The Asian Human Rights Commission has also taken notice of the threats and said it is "gravely concerned" about physical attacks and threats against female opposition members of Karachi’s City Council by members of the MQM.

"We are concerned that the Sindh police refused to register cases against the ruling Party Council members," the Commission said, "and instead registered cases of hooliganism against the opposition Council members who were the victims of the attacks."

The attacks occurred after an oath ceremony for two newly-elected members of the City Council, which consists of 240 members including 75 from opposition Parties.

The new MQM member was sworn in, but witnesses said the presiding officer, Mrs. Nasreen Jalil, also Deputy Mayor of Karachi, refused to seat the Opposition member and then, in a planned action, signaled to 30 to 40 MQM members to start their attack.

Female opposition members were singled out in the attack, complainants said, and were struck with fists, belts, sticks and chairs as the presiding officer looked on and refused to interfere. The women were called prostitutes and threatened, witnesses said.

The opposition Party member who had been refused his oath, Mohammad Yaqoob, was severely beaten and received internal injuries and a broken hand. Photographs of the beatings were published in local newspapers and shown on television in Pakistan.

At Karachi’s City Court Police Station, MQM members filed complaints against the opposition for hooliganism. When opposition Party members arrived, the Station House Officer refused to accept their complaints. An appeal to the Deputy Superintendent of Police was also refused.

Earlier this year an assassination attempt took place against Opposition Parliamentarian Dr Azra Zardari, sister-in-law of the former Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Police refused to file a criminal complaint against a Provincial Minister and his bodyguards who were accused of the assassination attempt.

The PPP said that the criminal system in the country was collapsing as a result of political oppression. The PPP accused the government of protecting political supporters who were breaking the law. It said that the regime was denying legal protection to the citizens of Pakistan who had political views different to it.

Following protests from the Opposition, the public and the media, the presiding officer Mrs. Nasreen Jalil refused to punish the attackers, but did order one member not to attend three sessions of the Council as a penalty.

Reader Comments:

Pakistan women

It is rather absurd saying that Pakistan women opponents are threatened and intimated as said by Asian Human Rights Commission and quoting that they are ’Gravely Concerned’. Pakistan is the only country on this planet earth where 33% women are in parliament and given appreciation of their talents. They are supported all the time and its rather nieve on the part of Human rights commision and its worker to accuse Pakistan. Its the PPP who wants to make their fortune out of this topic though its not going to give them any benefit. Any one who provokes whether a male or female will certainly get something back and women are not excluded and got to get the brunt same was as men.

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 15 May, 2007

intimadated women

I have on film an interview of a women who was in the NA, probably during the years 2002 or 2003. She was from a conservative part of Paksitan.

The lady said, back then, that the women could not work with the men in parliament, because their attitude was one of "oh, she's just a woman." Apparently some of the men didn't take the ladies seriously? According to this member of parliament, the men seemed to feel superior, to the women "and perhaps they're right," she said.

I won't include the name of the lady who told us about past attitudes of the men in in the NA. After all, she was saying all this three or four years ago.

But, at the time, I believed her. Possibly the threats and intimidation would have come up had the lady pressed her issues further with the men?

The only solution this lady could see was to have a separate parliament for the women. "We can't work with the men," she said.

I certianly hope, that attitudes have changed now that it's 2007.

Ayasha, United Kingdom - 18 May, 2007

@Mohammad

that is cruel MQM in no way is allowed to break law in this way. the criminal should be brought to justice. If the system is not ready to provided protection to the weak and opresses it is going to collapse, surely

Auwais, Pakistan - 19 May, 2007

Women can get respect if they can demand it in elections according to their culture and not accordin

See the problem stems from the attitude of the leader towards women.Though religious sector respects women,but the secualar especially the "Khaki worthy walay" disrespect women.When Musharraf came to USA and journlaists asked him about "Mukhtaran mai" case he snapped and said "In Pakistan women are lined up to get raped to make money and fame"This was nauseating statement from the leader of nation which calls itself Islamic.But US govt which has used issues of humar rights and women rights for political manouvering didn't say anything.The women of Pakistan who comprise 50% of population should exert their muscles in election and ensure that their rights and respect will be maintained not according to western standards but according to their culture.ONly then some thing polistive will come out.

Dr.Khan, United Kingdom - 19 May, 2007

One is hugging and one is being pressed

What are doing the PPP women? if the women of these types are given the authority of pakistan what would happen to pakistani girls. where does pakistan will stand. look in
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTowwfE3GKg

Paki, Pakistan - 21 May, 2007

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