714 killed under karo-kari in Sindh in 2012
08 March, 2013
HYDERABAD: Every year, this day is observed as Women Rights Day, declared as such by UNO.
In many Asian countries, the status and the safety of women are still largely affected by gender based violence and discrimination, and Pakistan still ranks among the countries in Asia, and in the world, with one of the worst human rights records which affects the condition of women significantly.
Pakistani women are subjected to physical and verbal offences, psychological and sexual abuse, rape (including marital rape), assaults, forced conversions and forced marriages, honour killings. In the majority of cases, perpetrators are male family members. This is a result of the extremely conservative and patriarchal mindset embedded in society and which cuts across social classes. Abuses such as battery and murder occur among upper middle-class families as well as among working class people.
Even a comparison between the trend in urban and rural areas, proves that numbers are not that different in big cities. The reasons behind the perpetuation of discrimination and violence against women of any age are to be found in the religious fundamentalism, in the conservative sexist mindset pervading even urban areas, in the very feeble rule of law and in the widespread corruption within the civil policing system. Pakistan has been termed as worst with reference to every aspect of human rights record. If we talk of women, there has been no let up of murders of women and men in Sindh under the pretext of karo-kari (honour killing) and domestic violence.
During the year 2012 as many as 714 persons including 571 women and 143 men were killed across the province.
A report released by Research and Development for Human Resources says that during the year 2012, 257 women were killed under karo-kari, 112 under domestic violence while 52 were killed under mysterious circumstances and 150 in various incidents.
According to detailed report of, 52 women and 14 men were killed under karo-kari in January 2012, 53 women and 10 men in February, 50 women and 8 men in March, 48 and 7 in April, 52 and 17 in May, 52 and 17 in June, 63 and 12 in July, 52 and 14 in August, 46 and 14 in September, 35 and 12 in October, 41 and 14 in November and 37 women and 8 men were killed in December 2012. Women's movement is restricted and rests in hands of her male family members. They are treated as commodity the fate of which is to be decided by her father, brother and other male members.
Their opinion is of no one's interest or concern, and the integrity of their body is out of their control. Rape is a customary practice not only to satisfy male instincts, but also to regulate tribal disputes: by violating the enemies' daughters, sisters and wives, tribes "teach" their opponents a lesson. In female chastity lies the honour of a family and raping a woman is a powerful tool of offence and revenge. When the concept of honour is taken to its extreme and it is combined with the custom of blaming the victim, non consensual sexual intercourse is considered paradoxically the same as pre-marital or non-marital sex, and this further compromises the safety of women.
The observance of basic human rights (right to life, right to safety, freedom, equality, health, etc) continues to be systematically violated in Pakistan. The mentality of blame to the detriment of the victim, together with the pervading inequality and discrimination, permeate though all spheres of societies, from the private life to the public level.
The protection of women from unequal treatment and the prevention of violence are successful when forces from the top and from the bottom meet at the middle ground of justice, fairness and tolerance. In Pakistan, none of these fundamental principles seems to inspire equality either in personal relationships, or in public relations. In remote areas women when fell ill are not taken to doctors out of fear lest male staff of hospital can see her which means they are kept in hiding from the outside world.
Pakistan ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1996. Later on, the Government issued the Protection of Women Act in 2006 and the Criminal Law Act in 2009. The Acid Crime Prevention Bill, and the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, are still pending in Parliament. These acts are all supposed to be efficient legislative tools to protect women from assault, rape, and discrimination in the work place and other forms of violence. But like other laws these legislations are not implemented.
During last 5 years women have been facing kidnapping, rape and conversion especially the trend is on rise in Sindh.
There are cases where even 6 year old girl Vijenti Meghwar was raped in Umerkot district on December 2,2012,but no arrest of accused has been made so far.
In India when a 23 year old girl was raped in bus whole India rather whole world stood up in one voice but in Pakistan when Rinkel Kumari, Sita and other girls were kidnapped and raped, even the civil society failed to raise effective voice. Dhani Bheel, a minority married woman was kidnapped and married to a Muslim man after conversion. No one from civil society was present at Khipro town where judge handed her to new husband without consideration of getting a divorce from her previous husband.
The girls in Sindh are not allowed to marry on their own and if any girl tries to do so or leaves her parents' home after attaining adolescence, the victims and their families are left on the mercy of waderas (landlords) of the area who hold their illegal courts called jirgas and issue edict to kill both girl and boy as marrying on one's wish is treated as honour crimes and the minor sisters of boy are ordered to be given in exchange and married to any old male member from girl's family as compensation. These jirgas, though banned by Sindh High Court are held regularly, also put fine of lacs of rupees on boy the amount of which when received is pocketed by the wadera himself.
A violence-free world is a utopia in Pakistan society of which was still lingering in 16th century. The main reason of violation of rights of every individual including women in Pakistan is the bad government due to perpetrators of crime are always elected to assemblies to form governments and cabinets. However, circumstances can be sensibly improved if tolerance, understanding, acceptance, innovation and open mindedness accompany people in their private spheres, and governments in their mandates. But until the country is ruled by feudal lords, jagirdars, terrorists there is no hope of change in human rights situation especially women rights.