On the margins

Published April 15, 2024

IT appears that we are bent upon taking the majoritarian path. Thus, the promise of respect and equality for the white in the flag is not being kept. Our minorities, at the bottom of the social pecking order, are denied rights, security and equity; their women and girls are targets of the most heinous violations, such as abductions, forcible conversions, forced marriages and rape. UN human rights experts are rightly shocked by the lack of protection for females from the country’s religious communities. “Hindu and Christian girls remain particularly vulnerable to religious conversion, abduction, trafficking, child, early and forced marriage, domestic servitude and sexual violence,” read a statement, issued in Geneva on Thursday.

While Pakistan’s women’s movement began in the early 1980s against a military dictator’s anti-women and anti-minority edicts, much remains to be done to improve the circumstances of young girls and women belonging to minority groups to save them from the might of social structures which permit and condone their exploitation. For starters, the authorities should be able to muster enough courage to clamp down on extremist and feudal elements who commit excesses against the minorities. On their part, activists should be at the forefront of a campaign to raise awareness about laws that guarantee personal freedoms and aim to eliminate misogyny; their efforts should ensure that all stand equal before the law. The law enforcers must be compelled to shed patriarchal and insensitive attitudes in order to facilitate victims of unconscionable crimes. Sadly, Pakistan’s current trajectory lays bare an uncomfortable truth: a nation that fails to guard human rights and legal liberties, and that alienates segments of its citizenry, will hurtle towards imbalance, strife and poverty. Prosperous societies consolidate security and pluralism by quashing all forms of ideological or social supremacy. It makes sense, then, for political parties to commit to a lot more than merely the electoral catchphrase of ‘rule of law’.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Border clashes
19 May, 2024

Border clashes

THE Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier has witnessed another series of flare-ups, this time in the Kurram tribal district...
Penalising the dutiful
19 May, 2024

Penalising the dutiful

DOES the government feel no remorse in burdening honest citizens with the cost of its own ineptitude? With the ...
Students in Kyrgyzstan
Updated 19 May, 2024

Students in Kyrgyzstan

The govt ought to take a direct approach comprising convincing communication with the students and Kyrgyz authorities.
Ominous demands
Updated 18 May, 2024

Ominous demands

The federal government needs to boost its revenues to reduce future borrowing and pay back its existing debt.
Property leaks
18 May, 2024

Property leaks

THE leaked Dubai property data reported on by media organisations around the world earlier this week seems to have...
Heat warnings
18 May, 2024

Heat warnings

STARTING next week, the country must brace for brutal heatwaves. The NDMA warns of severe conditions with...