KARACHI, Dec 11: Women face violence in every third household of Pakistan in the lower, middle and upper class families but it goes unreported at all levels and in poor households domestic violence is not generally considered as a form of violence.

These observations were made by the representatives of civil society organisations and political parties during a consultative meeting organised by Aurat Foundation on the violence against women under its policy and data monitoring project.

Anis Haroon of Aurat Foundation, former PPP MPA Shazia Marri, former PML-Q senator Tanveer Khalid, Uzma Noorani and others took part in the discussion.

The participants pointed out that the fundamental rights of the womenfolk in Pakistan were violated in the name of modesty and honour. Social attitudes, cultural practices and religious misconceptions had not only denied women their rights but also paved way towards increasing violence against them, they said.

They cited some extremely discriminatory laws and procedures which had denied fundamental rights and access to justice causing further injustice and oppression to the womenfolk.

They stressed the need to repeal discriminatory laws and formation and strict implementation of women-friendly legislations.

Lala Hassan, the provincial networks coordinator in his presentation informed the audience that as many as 403 women including 26 minor girls were murdered out of which 196 women were killed on the pretext of karo-kari during the last 11 months only in Sindh.

He said that women faced physical, sexual, psychological and emotional violence that ranged from more covert acts (abusive language and coercion in marriage) and the most explicit forms included physical torture, marital rape, custodial violence, honour killings, burning of women, acid attacks, female genital mutilation, incest, gang-rape, public stripping of women, trafficking and forced prostitution, sexual harassment at workplace, etc.

The participants called for an immediate end to violence against women at all levels. A watch group was also formed on the occasion.

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