Violence against women at a rise in Pakistan. - Illustration by Abro

LAHORE: As many as 3,153 cases of violence against women, including 860 kidnap cases, were recorded during last six months of 2011 in the Punjab province, says Aurat Foundation's second bi-annual report on violence against women launched at the Lahore Press Club on Monday.

Speaking at a news conference, former MNA Mehnaz Rafi, MPA Sajida Mir, legal adviser to governor Abdullah Malik and Policy and Data Monitoring Unit regional coordinator Nabeela Shaheen explained the details of cases of violence reported against women that include kidnap, rape, gang-rape, murder, suicide, domestic violence, honour-killing and sexual assault.

They said the statistics collected during the last six months revealed that the ratio of the violence-related crimes in rural areas was more than the urban areas. They said that 1,520incidents of violence had been recorded in rural areas while 1,306 cases were reported from urban areas.

While, place of occurrence in 327 incidents could not be ascertained as rural or urban.

Stating that the ratio of kidnapping cases was very high, Rafi said the people involved in these incidents were relatives, neighbours and locals. She said the major reasons behind kidnapping were choice-marriages, revengeful and forced marriages, honour-killing and litigation on property etc.

In 3,153 incidents of violence, they said, 3,681 individuals were victimised in which 3,438 were women and girls and 243 were men and boys. Ratio was almost 19 women/girls who were victimised in this period on a daily basis. Moreover, five women were kidnapped, four were murdered including one killed in the name of honour, three were raped/gang-raped, and two women committed suicide or attempted to commit suicide on a daily basis.

Marital status-wise, the report stated that 1,432 victims were unmarried, 1,430 married, 44 divorced, 59 widowed, and no information of marital status was known about 473 victims. Some 87 per cent crimes were reported through FIR, three per cent remained unreported, while 10 per cent crimes were without information.

The report said that 968 girls were abducted along with 24 boys in 894 kidnap and attempt to kidnap incidents. Mostly accused were known to victims and motives behind these incidents were choice marriages, revenge, litigation feud, domestic disputes, matrimonial disputes etc.

Major incidents of abduction and attempt to abduct were occurred in districts Sargodha with 90, Okara 87, Faisalabad 74, Rawalpindi 71 andLahore 58 cases registered.

It said 842 women and girls as well as 101 youths were murdered and attempts to murder them were made in 747 incidents. As many as 174 incidents of honour-killing were recorded in which 186 girls and 23 men were victimised. Frequently, suspected accused were husbands, brothers, brothers of husband and fathers.

Motives behind incidents were domestic dispute, quarrels with in-laws, money disputes, marriage disputes, suspicion of having affairs, immoral character and choice marriages.

In 474 incidents of rape and attempt to rape, 488 women and girls were victimised, in which 291 girls were unmarried, 117 married, one divorced and four widowed. There were 75 such women about whom no information was received. Moreover, five incidents of incest took place in which close relatives raped the victim. culprits were local residents,neighbours and friends and acquaintance of victims.

In addition, 399 incidents of suicide and attempt to commit suicide, 167 of domestic violence, 52 of hurling life threats, 42 of harassment, 15 of acid attack, 12 of burning, 11 of trafficking/selling, eight of vani and four incidents of karo kari were recorded in Punjab.

The ratio of female violence was on higher side in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sargodha and Multan districts.

To a question,  Rafi said the increase in reported violence cases was being witnessed because of ever-increasing population and expansion of media. They said women also felt empowered and also came up to speak about crimes committed against them. Mir said the parliament had enacted laws but the law enforcing agencies had failed to check violence against women.