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Senate body takes up two cases of violence against women

December 07, 2017

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee on Wednesday directed the social welfare department and relevant National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) office to facilitate the recovery of a teenage girl forced to walk naked through a village in Dera Ismail Khan.

“The girl has been traumatised. She should have been provided counselling and rehabilitation immediately, but that has not been done,” said Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights chairperson Senator Nasreen Jalil.

Police have arrested eight out of nine people allegedly involved in the case, in which a 15-year-old teenager was forced by a gang to walk home naked after they physically assaulted her in D.I. Khan.

D.I. Khan Regional Police Officer (RPO) Fida Hussain Shah told the committee on Wednesday that the attack was a result of a two-year family feud.

NCSW, social welfare dept asked to facilitate recovery of teenager attacked in D.I. Khan

The committee took the case up at the request of committee members on Oct 27.

“The main accused is still at large. We traced his phone calls to Karachi but have not been able to arrest him. The main accused will be in custody soon,” Mr Shah said, adding that the case is now in court and the police have asked for a swift trial.

According to a report by the NCSW, the victim may have also been pressured by the police.

Commission chairperson Khawar Mumtaz said: “Our inquiry suggests that the local council has also pressured the girl’s family to settle the matter against a certain sum of money.”

However, the RPO said the case was a high-profile one that had seen the involvement of senior officials from the start.

“The police response was late by eight to nine hours initially. The responsible police official has been issued a charge sheet for dereliction of duty,” Mr Shah said.

Senator Farhatullah Babar also asked for a periodic progress report on the case to be presented to the committee.

The Senate committee also took up a case regarding a 19-year-old woman, Rizwana, who was set on fire and later died after she declined a marriage proposal in the second week of November in Mandi Bahauddin.

Gujranwala RPO Sultan Azam Temuri said that the victim in her “dying declaration” alleged that a 19-year-old man had proposed to her and she had refused. She was shifted to the Aziz Bhatti Hospital in Gujrat for medical attention and is currently in a coma.

According to Mr Temuri, the suspect has been arrested and a case has been registered against him.

Senator Sehar Kamran, remarking on both cases, said she was saddened and ashamed as a woman and a mother by both incidents. She proposed aggressive media campaigns to raise awareness about the rights of women and to end widespread discrimination in the country.

Senator Kamran also quoted a recent international study that ranked Pakistan as among the worst countries for discrimination against women. “This committee should visit both victims to show solidarity with them,” she added.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2017