Thursday, November 25, 2010

PAKISTAN: Women have little to celebrate on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, AHRC, Nov 25, 2010

Today, in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, it is incumbent upon the international community and the government of Pakistan to examine with greater concern the status and future of Pakistani women. This day may in some nations commemorate significant accomplishments for women’s rights and gender parity, but, in Pakistan, today must serve primarily as a reminder of how much Pakistan has yet to do to protect its women from gender-based violence and to ensure their safety.

In particular, this day should inspire consideration of the circumstances faced by women in Pakistan with regard to overwhelming barriers to legal access and assaults perpetrated by representatives of the state. For example, in a recent case a woman who received a stay order from court over a dispute on ownership of her house was picked up by policemen and their informers and taken to a private detention centre where she was gang raped for more than 50 days. The rape victim’s cases against the accused policemen and their henchmen were withdrawn due to the controversy of the geographical jurisdiction of the police. The medical report of the rape was not issued even after one month following the medical examination. The victim and her family are in hiding because of continuous police threats to withdraw the case. The deputy inspector generals of the two districts of Karachi metropolitan city refused to entertain the complaints of the victim on the grounds of jurisdiction.

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