In a new study on the situation of women in Pakistan, the Aurat Foundation, an Islamabad-based non-governmental organization working for women’s’ welfare, has expressed concern over the growing incidents of violence against Pakistani women.
The annual study for the year 2009 was released in Islamabad on February 1, 2010 by Ms. Rabeea Hadi, a representative of the Aurat Foundation. The study, which is based on statistics compiled by the NGO, noted a 13 percent increase in incidents of violence against women in Pakistan in 2009.
The incidents of violence against Pakistani women include rape, gang-rape, honor killing, acid throwing, suicide, abduction and murder. The full report of the annual study has yet to be published. However, some excerpts from the report were published by the leading Pakistani daily Dawn.
Following are some of the excerpts:
"Of 8,548 Cases of Violence, 5,722 Incidents were Recorded in Punjab, 1,762 in Sindh, 655 in the NWFP, 237 in Baluchistan and 172 in Islamabad"
"Cases of violence against women witnessed a 13 percent increase in 2009 from the previous year.
"Rabeea Hadi, a representative of the Aurat Foundation, said that 8,548 incidents of violence against women were reported in the four provinces – Punjab, Sindh, North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Baluchistan, and in Islamabad last year.
"Of the 8,548 cases of violence, 5,722 incidents were recorded in Punjab, 1,762 in Sindh, 655 in the NWFP, 237 in Baluchistan and 172 in Islamabad. The total figure shows a 13 percent increase when compared with 7,571 incidents of violence against women reported in 2008.
"In Islamabad, the 172 incidents included 39 cases of murder, two ‘honor’ killings, 52 abductions/kidnappings and 18 domestic violence [disputes].
"The state, honorable judiciary, free media, the women’s rights and human rights organizations and common citizens must know that 1,384 daughters of Pakistan were murdered, 928 were raped, 683 committed suicide and 604 were killed in the name of ‘honor’ in the year 2009,” Ms. Hadi said while releasing the figures.
"With extreme pain and anguish, we express our outrage and resentment over this state of affairs where women and girls are being murdered, kidnapped and subjected to various forms of violence, including killings in the name of ‘honor’, suicides, acid throwing and stove-burning with shameless impunity while the state functionaries are doing nothing except giving lip-service before TV cameras and that too only in some high-profile cases," she added.
"Having no expectations from the interior ministry or provincial governments, Hadi said she would urge the Ministry of Women’s Development and Women’s Parliamentary Caucus headed by the Speaker of the National Assembly, the lower house of the Pakistani parliament, and the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) [to take action]."
"The Highest Increase in the Number of Reported Cases i.e. From 281 in 2008 to 608 in 2009 was in Domestic Violence"
"The number and percent change for cases of abduction and kidnapping in 2009 are – 1,987 (23.25 percent change), murder 1,384 (16.9pc), rape/gang-rape 928 (10.86pc), suicide 683 (7.99pc) and ‘honor’ killing 604 (7.07pc) followed by cases of sexual assault 274 (3.21pc), stove burning 50 (0.58pc), acid throwing 27 (0.60pc) and offences of miscellaneous nature around (23.13pc). Around 1,977 cases of violence were of miscellaneous nature such as vanni/swara [forced marriage of children to end blood feuds], custodial violence, torture, trafficking, child marriage, incest, threat to violence, sexual harassment, attempted murder, suicide and rape.
"The highest increase in the number of reported cases, i.e. from 281 in 2008 to 608 in 2009, was in domestic violence. However, the reported number of murder incidents decreased from 1,422 in 2008 to 1,384 in 2009."
"Of the 5,722 Incidents of Violence in 35 Districts of Punjab, There were 1,698 Cases of Abduction, 752 Cases of Murder, 245 Cases of 'Honor' Killing"
"Of the 5,722 incidents of violence in the 35 districts of Punjab, there were 1,698 cases of abduction/kidnapping, 752 cases of murder, 245 cases of ‘honor’ killing, 786 cases of rape/gang rape, 448 cases of suicide, 227 cases of sexual assault, 33 cases of stove burning, 42 cases of acid throwing, and 1,220 cases of miscellaneous nature.
"Of the 1,762 incidents reported from 23 districts of Sindh, 288 were of murder (one of the highest ratios of crime against women reported from the province), 284 incidents of ‘honor’ killing, 160 incidents of abduction/kidnapping, 176 incidents of suicide, 122 incidents of rape/gang rape, 122 incidents of domestic violence, 44 incidents of sexual assault, 10 incidents of stove burning, 9 incidetns of acid throwing and 535 incidents of miscellaneous nature.
"Similarly, of the 237 incidents of violence in 28 districts of Baluchistan there were, 59 of ‘honor’ killings, 39 murders, 13 abductions/kidnappings, 4 rapes/gang-rapes, 10 suicides, one stove burning and 22 incidents of miscellaneous nature."
According to another report in the Pakistani daily The News, human rights activist Tahira Abdullah, who is a member of the Violence Against Women Watch Group, an organization that collaborated with the Aurat Foundation for the study, said that the reported incidents of violence are just "the tip of the iceberg" as the extent of violence is much more extensive.
Noting that nearly 85 percent of women experience violence in Pakistan but that society keeps mum on their sufferings, Ms. Abdullah said: "Not many women have the guts to stand up for their rights and seek help from government functionaries."