‘Peshawar tops KP in cases of violence against women’

Published September 23, 2015
Famous Pashto singer Mahjabeen Qazalbash speaks during the launching ceremony of ‘Hum Awaaz’ campaign in Peshawar on Tuesday. — White Star
Famous Pashto singer Mahjabeen Qazalbash speaks during the launching ceremony of ‘Hum Awaaz’ campaign in Peshawar on Tuesday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: A consortium of NGOs working in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on women rights says that Peshawar district has the highest number of cases of violence against women, around 104 cases reported in only 270 days this year.

“Peshawar though mostly urban is topping in violence against women in the province, as 104 cases (36.3 per cent) of the 287 cases were reported in this district,” said Shabina Ayaz, regional director Aurat Foundation while sharing the data collected in the last nine months from the major English and Urdu newspapers. She said that there was 5 per cent increase in cases of violence against women compared to last year.

The actual number of violence cases may be much higher than this, she said at the launch of a campaign called “Auratoon per Tashadud key Khilaf Hum Awaz campaign” at Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday.

AF, South Asia Partnership Pakistan, Sungi and Strengthening Participatory Organisation had organised the one-day event in which not only theatre performance by Gandahara Arts Council on discriminatory customs in society were highlighted, performance by artistes Bakhtiyar Khattak and Mehjabeen Qazalbash also gave a respite from the seriousness of the topic.

Mehjabeen also spoke on how violent attitudes were found everywhere and said that women faced problems in expressing their talent due to such attitudes. She said she felt sorry that anti-women attitudes were not changing despite education and progress in society. Women were still treated like a herd of cattle. She said that she hoped these attitudes would change.

Saima Munir, programme coordinator, said that last year during their data analysis they found out that one woman died every day in the province; one commits suicide every third day; another gets kidnapped on every fourth day; and every sixth day a woman is killed in the name of honor. She regretted that religious and progressive political parties had not realised the severity of this issue and they were yet to pass a bill on domestic violence.

Rabia Ali, a participant from Mardan, said that if men in Pakhtun society thought violence against women was not their issue, then they were wrong. Women face violence at home and outside, she said.

Arshad Haroon, provincial head of SPO, said that the Pakhtun society should realise that anti-women customs and practices needed to be stopped.

Published in Dawn September 23rd, 2015

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