PAKISTAN has been ranked as the third most dangerous place in the world for women. Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country has its roots in a patriarchal social structure under which women are considered inferior to men and are viewed as property. Illiteracy, ignorance and blind faith in clergy provide a fertile ground for the maintenance of the status quo, and encourages this extreme form of patriarchal society.
This issue is further compounded by discriminatory legislation and a dysfunctional criminal justice system. According to official figures released by the Ministry of Human Rights, 8,648 human rights violations were reported in the country between January 2012 and September 15, 2015. These included 90 incidents of acid burning, 72 of burning, 535 cases of violence against women, 860 honour killings and 344 rape/gang rapes, 268 sexual assault/harassment, and 481 of domestic violence.
Women who have tried to report abuse have faced grave challenges, with the police and judges hesitating to take action.
There is a pressing need of specific federal law prohibiting prevailing violence and discrimination against women.
Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2019