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Woman survivor’s trauma

Updated May 20, 2017 03:07am


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THE merciless violence suffered by women in this country is evident in cases of ‘honour’ crime, premeditated murder and acid attacks — often inflicted by perpetrators known to them. Take the case of Khadija Siddiqui. Last year, the young law student was stabbed 23 times in Lahore by a fellow student. Although she miraculously survived the attack, it left her with wounds that required 200 stitches. This week, Ms Siddiqui learnt that she would be sitting her final exams at the same time as her attacker. Disturbingly, the alleged attacker, the son of an advocate, is on post-arrest bail granted by a sessions court in December 2015. As a victim of a gruesome crime, not only has Ms Siddiqui suffered tremendous physical and psychological trauma but now must relive memories of this assault as she may come face to face with her attacker, who had stabbed her in the presence of her six-year-old sister. Ironically, instead of the justice system punishing the alleged perpetrator, he is about to sit his exams for entry into the legal fraternity that is supposed to uphold the rule of law and work towards the protection of human life. This is a travesty of justice; it also demonstrates a lack of respect for and apathy towards women victims.

Documenting cases of more than 2,500 women victims of violence in 2016, a recent HRCP report has noted no significant decline in violence against women. This calls for strengthening legislative mechanisms and protection systems for women. With incriminating evidence including video footage of the attack, Ms Siddiqui’s case must be re-examined so that justice is served and her alleged attacker, known for his violent behaviour, does not walk free — despite reports that powerful quarters are trying to influence the outcome of the case. The practice of silencing women victims and coercing them to withdraw court cases must stop. The state must ensure that legislation such as the Punjab Protection Against Violence Act, 2016 is implemented to protect them.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017


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Comments (4) Closed

Another view May 20, 2017 07:12am

Sir , if you find a solution in Pakistan, please share to India as well.

M Jamal May 20, 2017 08:39am

The Judicial council is functioning in Pakistan and the duty is to monitor the courts conduct as well as other issues.In Khadija's case,hopefully it will come into action.

Attaullah May 20, 2017 10:37am

The perpetrator who violated the state's law ,now he is going to enter into the fraternity which claims to protect laws of the country..

shalone May 20, 2017 10:45am

There were 2500 such attacks in one year, you say. But think of millions of other women who suffer because they dare not do anything that annoys men of their families or those in neighbourhood. They dare not leave home without 'protection' and dress properly before they are called bad names. Men, on the other hand, are seen girl watching and making rude remarks without anybody making fuss about it. Once somebody visited me in Europe and when he saw girls cycling all alone in deserted places, asked me if it is not dangerous for them because back home men will attack them seeing a women alone. Yes, women are considered human beings equal to men here. That is the difference.