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hrcp report on women in 2011

February 6, 2013

Women
154State of Human R gi ht ni 2011
155
Women
All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of
law.
There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone.
No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan
shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the
ground only of … sex …
Steps shall be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres
of national life.
The state shall protect the marriage, the family, the mother …
The state shall … [ensure] that … women are not employed in vocations
unsuited to their sex….
Constitution of Pakistan
Articles 25, 27, 35, 37
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights …
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this
Declaration, without distinction of any kind …
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination
to equal protection of the law …
Men and women of full age … are entitled to equal rights as to marriage,
during marriage and at its dissolution.
Marriage should be entered into with the free and full consent of the
intending spouses.
Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
Mother and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 1, 2, 7, 16, 21(2), 25(2)
While gender constitutes one of the factors that makes people sociallyWomen
156
vulnerable and
discriminated against,
the issues of women
have to be calibrated
against a number of
variables. Not all
women suffer social
vulnerability in quite
the same manner or
extent and their
situation may differ in
accordance with their
social positioning in
terms of class, religion,
education, economic
independence, geographical locationóinclusive of distance from urban
centresócaste, educational profile, marital status, number of children and so
on.
So, while all women continue to do poorly in terms of theirstatus as citizens
of the State, a fact reflected in the poorer statistics for womenís education and
health, for instance, and discriminatory laws that make themsocially vulnerable,
their vulnerability is experientially different according to their social position
and their access to avenues of empowerment.
Over the year 2011, the social indices of development such as educational
opportunities, employment, and health pertaining to women remained dismal
with 65 percent of the workforce engaged in low paid and unrepresented homebased work. The floods continued to affect women and children adversely,
with 120,000 pregnant women suffering from trauma, fatigue, malnutrition,
and poor hygiene. The health indicators for women, particularly in rural areas,
remained abysmal, with breast cancer being amongst the highest in South Asia
and 40,000 deaths recorded annually. In urban centres, drug addiction amongst
women with school and college degrees was recorded, and the percentage of
attempted suicides by ingesting poison, the most discrete form of suicide rose,
with up to five to six cases of teenage suicide attempts coming in daily in
Karachi alone.
The education indicators for women suffered from cultural practices and
in some strife-riddled parts of the countryóparticularly in Federally
Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwaówhere
girlsí schools were targeted by the militants, leading to prolonged closures.
Meanwhile, in urban centres, a number of cases of sexual harassment came to
view in institutions of higher education and perpetrators were brought to book
in accordance with the new laws.
Incidents of domestic violence seemed to have increased in the Punjab
Hari women reflecting on their lot.State of Human R gi ht ni 2011
157
province or perhaps were more adequately reported, while Sindh showed a
downward trend and cases in Balochistan remained largely unmonitored and
unreported. Parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remained under threat of religious
militancy and the state ofAfghan refugees, particularly the condition of women,
was inadequately monitored.
The most vulnerable women of the population were religious and
sexualized minorities. There were a number of cases of rape and murder of
young women in domestic labour who belonged to the Christian minority. The
governor of the Punjab lost his life trying to save Aasia Bibi, a working class
Christian woman, from capital punishment on a trumped up case of blasphemy.
Women from sexual minoritiesóthe hijra or transgendered community
who mostly identify themselves as womenówere granted the status of citizens
of the State, but the only employment opportunity provided to them by the
State was as tax collectors out to harass defaulters. This official gesture not
only demeaned them as people and reinforced cultural biases of their nuisance
value, but also set a precedent for how they were to be treated socially.
In November, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to
enlist transgendered peoples on the votersí list, a division bench directed the
federal authority of NADRA ( National Database and Registration Authority)
to issue this community with computerized identity cards, and the Sindh
government pledged a piece of land to building a colony for them. The Court
appreciated this and asked the other provinces to follow suit.
Women as citizens: the legal and political status
Although a number of court rulings and political events signified the
deteriorating status of women as citizens, the death penalty for Aasia Bibi
under the blasphemy law, and the acquittals in Mukhtaran Maiís gang-rape
case were perhaps the worst rulings of the year. However, the year 2011 was
marked by the legal activism of women parliamentarians who vociferously
put womenís issues in the forefront and succeeded in getting a number of
legislations adopted.
Perhaps the two events of significance were the death threats and public
harassment faced by a former information minister and PPP parliamentarian
after her proposed bill submitted to the National Assembly sought amendment
to the blasphemy law.
The assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer in January by a
religious zealot, ostensibly for supporting the amendment to the blasphemy
law and pleading on behalf of Aasia Bibi, led to the silencing of the assemblies.
Protests against Taseerís killing and growing intolerance in society were again
led by women parliamentarians who urged their male counterparts to voice
their concerns.
HRCP expressed grief and alarm at the growing intolerance and violence
in society and wanted the case investigated since it was a member of the policeWomen
158
force deputed to protect the governor that had fired on him.
Another major disappointment and loss of faith in legal institutions came
because of the Supreme Court ruling in the Mukhtaran Mai case. Nine years
after a very high profile case of gang-rape by 14 men, the Supreme Court of
Pakistan acquitted eight of the accused on appeal and the death penalty awarded
to six others was overturned, with only one man serving a life term. The court
cited insufficient evidence as the ground for the acquittal. The decision led to
nationwide protests by women
and human rights groups.
HRCP expressed its alarm and
disappointment at the Supreme
Court verdict acquitting the
men accused of raping
Mukhtaran Mai and stated that
the decision would add to
difficulties that rape victims
faced in bringing their
tormentors to justice. HRCP
felt that inadequate police
investigation and delay in
registering a case with the
police had led to the acquittal
of the accused. HRCP
expressed concern that the
courts lacked the capacity and
the sensitivity to appraise
evidence in rape cases.
A judicial observation with perhaps even more stark implications
concerning women had been passed in December 2010 when a Federal Shariat
Court verdict declared some clauses in the Womenís Protection Act
unconstitutional and un-Islamic. This effectively meant reinstating parts of
the Zina and Qazf ordinances promulgated by General Ziaul Haq that confused
the difference between adultery and rape. In 2011, there was widespread protest
by women and civil rights groups over this backsliding. The Federal Shariat
Court (FSC) verdict that declared four clauses of the Women Protection Act as
unconstitutional was criticised by members of the Womenís Action Forum
(WAF) on the grounds that it effectively reintroduced the overriding effect of
Zina and Qazaf ordinances, which the WPA had removed, and also confused
the issue of separation of rape from adultery, that the WPA had established.
They opposed the FSCís aim to trivialise the rights of women through
legitimising discrimination against them. The FSC decision was also challenged
and an appeal made to the Supreme Court (the Federal Shariat Apellate Bench)
A demand for nothing less than equal rights.State of Human R gi ht ni 2011
159
by a number of womenís rights organizations. The appeal was still pending at
the end of 2011.
In October, the National Commission on Women Act 2011 was presented
before parliament that argued for the setting up of an autonomous body to
examine all policies and programmes of government for gender equity. (It was
adopted in the new year)
In the last few days of the year, a bill on womenís rights of inheritance the
Prevention of Anti- Women Practices Bill 2008 was adopted by parliament.
The law aimed to protect women from child marriages, forced marriage to the
Quran, the practices of vani, swara. These and any other means of depriving
women from inheriting property became punishable by law. In December, the
provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tabled a bill to protect and secure
womenís rights to property termed the Womenís Ownership Rights Act 2011.
In the same month, theAcid Crime PreventionBill was passed unanimously
by the two houses of parliament. This defined the crime as ëdisfigurementí and
ëdefacementí and enhanced the punishment from ten years to life term and /or
a fine of half a million rupees. HRCP strongly welcomed the adoption of the
pro-women rights bills and asked for their early implementation as that would
help change societal perceptions of womenís status and rights.
In 2011, six women were awarded the death penalty by different courts of
law.
Government plans and policies
January
¨ The first woman ombudsperson was appointed to receive and examine
the complaints of sexual harassment and prosecute the offenders.
¨ The Punjab Assembly passed a resolution demanding that the federal
government ensure the implementation of womenís rights according to Islam,
and curtail incidents of violence against women.
¨ It was announced by the government that a bill would soon be
presented in parliament to protect the rights of ìhome-based workersî in the
country but no further steps were taken.
February
¨ The prime minister directed officials to ensure implementation of
amendments which grant autonomous status to the National Commission on
the Status of Women before March 8. Repeal of all retrogressive and
discriminatory laws against women was urged by NGOs and activists.
March
¨ The Lahore High Court chief justice promised ensuring womenísWomen
160
representation on the bench. However, there were no women among the judges
of the High Court until the yearís end.
¨ A constitutional petition was filed in the Supreme Court directing the
government to regularise the services of Lady HealthWorkers (LHWs). Earlier
in the month, there had been several street demonstrations by LHWs and a
number of incidents of arrest and police torture of the protesting LHWs.
April
¨ The Sexual Harassment Actópassed in March the previous yearó
that required all public and private organisations, including government
ministries, divisions and departments to ensure its implementation, had not
been implemented by many ministries, including interior, defence production,
investment, ports and shipping, and textile industries. Only three hospitals
nationwide had adopted the law. The Environment Ministry adopted the code
in late January. In April, there was focus on provincial-level implementation
of the law, as well as ensuring appointment of ombudspersons in provinces.
¨ The Supreme Court acquitted five of the six men accused of raping
Mukhtaran Mai on appeal, while only one man was awarded a life sentence.
May
¨ The Punjab government investigated the incident of keeping a female
lecturer in lock-up for the night after she had an argument on the road over a
traffic violation with an army officer serving with an intelligence agency. The
woman later withdrew her case against the officer according to media reports.
June
¨ The National Assemblyís Standing Committee on Womenís
Development recommended the formation of a committee to coordinate
between the provinces and the centre on issues related to womenís development
and their rights after the devolution of the ministry under the Eighteenth
Amendment.
¨ The National Commission on the Status of Women was renamed
ìNational Commission for Womenî and established as an autonomous body.
¨ The Federal Budget 2011-2012 came as a disappointment to women
since it included no new women-specific projects.
¨ The National Commission on the Status of Women asked the
government to increase the representation of women in the federal cabinet.
July
¨ Pakistanís youngest cabinet member and the first female foreign
minister took office.
¨ The prime minister said that although the ministries of minorities and
women development had been devolved to the provinces under the EighteenthState of Human R gi ht ni 2011
161
Amendment, policy
making on womenís
issues would remain the
job of the federal
government. He also
vowed to take more steps
for political and
economic empowerment
of women.
¨ In November,
the former minister of
information was
appointed the countryís
new ambassador to the
United States.
Access to basic rights: the right to work
Although women entered into paid labour in large numbers, particularly
from the poorer classes, their remuneration remained low and their rights as
workers almost non-existent. According to informal estimates, 65 percent of
the total workforce comprised women who worked from home and remained
largely invisible and without the cover of labour laws.
Women enter the workforce with several disadvantages. Lack of education
and limited exposure to the public sphere leads to diminished employment
opportunities for women and a poor sense of self worth. Women thereby tend
to be employed in the worst-paid and most exploitative occupations.
Protests regarding workersí rights
January
¨ In late January, the government announced its plansto construct hostels
in major cities of the country, including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, keeping
in view the residential problems of working women, and implementation was
keenly awaited.
¨ In Karachi, the president advised the Sindh Bankís management to
consider allocating 40 percent of jobs to women in the province.
¨ Twenty female police officers from all over Punjab successfully
completed the First Investigation Course for Women Police Officers and were
certified to work as police station house officers (SHOs) and investigation
officers.
¨ It was reported that in Pakistan, 65 percent of the total women
workforceóroughly 8.2 million womenóworked as home-based workers who
lacked formal social protection. They were the least paid and most exploited.
The government vowed to bring them under labour laws but no concrete action
Azim Mai: One of many victims of acid attacks.Women
162
was taken in the year.
¨ The salaries and allowances of female nurses working at Childrenís
Hospital, Lahore were greatly reduced after a change in their status from
contract to regular employees. After vociferous demonstrations contesting this,
by early February, better allowances were announced for the nurses as ad hoc
relief.
February
¨ In February, the salaries of Lady Health Workers in Swat District had
not been paid for the past two months, causing them financial worries and
forcing them to lodge a protest. The case of LHWs was later taken up for
redress after nation-wide protests.
¨ In Islamabad, 36 of the 53 nurses of Polyclinic Hospital whose services
had been terminated before the end of their contractual period and without any
prior notice were reinstated after they staged a sit-in outside parliament for
two days.
¨ A female teacher in Karachi immolated herself in protest against her
transfer to another school and for not being paid her salary for three months.
¨ The women medical officers of Taxila hospital observed a strike in
protest against the unavailability of medicines in the labour room, harsh working
conditions, extra duty hours and apathetic attitude of the authorities towards
these problems.
¨ In Islamabad, 130 female employees working for the Federal
Investigation Agency (FIA) filed a petition against gender discrimination in
departmental promotions.
March
¨ Women rights bodies urged the government to make efforts for the
Women workers march for their rights.State of Human R gi ht ni 2011
163
recognition of informal female workers and protecting their rights.
¨ HRCP expressed concern at the brutal police action against protesting
LHWs in Sindh where police used batons and tear gas to disperse them and
then arrested some of the leaders. The LHWs were protesting the arrests of
their colleagues in Ghotki, Obaro, and Sukkur. Those newly arrested were
also sent to Sukkur jail.
¨ HRCP condemned police violence on the peaceful demonstration of
LHWs and called upon the government of Sindh to release everyone detained
and to withdraw the cases registered against them. In recognition of the crucial
nature of their work, HRCP urged the government to regularise the service of
LHWs and to provide medical aid and treatment to the demonstrators who
were injured at the hands of the police and local administration.
April
¨ The first convention of the Home-based Women Workersí Federation
was organised in Karachi, with women from all over the country participating
to voice their concerns and form alliances. It was noted that about 12 million
home-based women workers were not recognised as workers in Pakistan and
the government had not developed any social or economic policy for them.
¨ Lady Health Workers continued to protest for their demands all over
the country .
November
¨ Nurses continued protesting peacefully for better working conditions
and salary. The peaceful protestors were dragged in the streets by their hair
and beaten up in Lahore. HRCP condemned the harsh police action against
protesting nurses in Lahore.
Sexual harassment
(i) Harassment in educational institutions
In January, the principal of a government primary boysí school in
Rawalpindi was suspended over allegations of sexually harassing a female
teacher.
InFebruary, in order to combatsexual harassment in universities, the Higher
EducationCommission (HEC) sent an anti-harassment policy to all universities.
However, it remained largely unimplemented.
In April, media reports emerged of alleged sexual harassment of female
students by senior teachers and heads of various departments of the University
of Peshawar. In May, a lecturer in the university was suspended from service
on such a charge.
In Lahore, a Punjab University teacher was sacked for sexually harassingWomen
164
a student.
In May, it was learnt that none of the public sector universities in Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa had complied with the Higher Education Commissionís policy
guidelines to prevent sexual harassment on university premises.
In June, a senior director of the King Edward Medical University was
removed from his post after an incident of harassment of a female student.
In July, a female student of Quaid-e-Azam University charged a faculty
member ofsexual harassment.According to her, when she resisted his advances,
the teacher threatened her of ìgraveî consequences, including failing her in
her exams. At the same university, the controller was accused of sexually
harassing a student in his office. Both men were found guilty by a probe
committee and relieved of their jobs.
In July, the University of Peshawar decided to curtail the powers of internal
examiners in the Bachelors of Science (BS) programme in a bid to tackle
harassment and exploitation of female students.
In August, a young student of a computer institute in Wah Cantt was shot
dead by the principal when she refused his sexual advances. Her body was
found at an abandoned house and the man arrested.
In the same month, a driver at a school in Islamabad was charged with
harassing a female teacher. The federal ombudsperson decided the case in two
hearings and the driver was removed from service.
In September, a case was registered in Sialkot against a man who was
harassing a teacher and had demanded a bribe to keep quiet about her academic
documents which were reportedly forged. She lodged an FIR with the police
and asked for protection.
In October, the entire female staff of a medical college in Karachi resigned
over the conditions of harassment they faced at work. The 250 doctors and
medical practitioners of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Medical College in Lyari
said they had been facing harassment and their complaints were not heeded.
Sexual harassment of a different kind was reported at a girlsí college in
Rawalpindi where 60 masked men entered the premises and beat up teachers
and students exhorting them to ìdress modestly and wear hijabî. Despite calls,
the police did not respond to the situation and the media was informed
unofficially that they were under strict orders to not do anything.
In November, a ninth grader in Bahawalpur charged the principal of her
school with attempted rape but after investigation the police dropped the case
saying there was insufficient evidence although there were two eyewitness
accounts of teachers who came into the room upon hearing the girl scream.
(ii) Harassment at the workplace
In September, an official of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in
Islamabad was accused and found guilty of harassing a passenger service officer.State of Human R gi ht ni 2011
165
The federal ombudsperson levied a fine of Rs 100,000 on him, half of which
was to be paid to the woman.
In the same month, women peasants bearing sticks, sickles and spades
blocked the National Highway in Thatta for three hours to protest against the
torment they faced at the hands of overseers. The flood displaced women from
Tando Mohammed Khan, Thatta, and Badin said they worked as farm labour
and were being harassed and wished to lodge an FIR with the police. They
were persuaded to disperse by a town municipal officer to avert a showdown
between them and the armed men of the overseer.
In September, a dentist at Kahna Rural Health Centre, Lahore was charged
with sexually harassing a staff nurse. The petitioner had initially made a
complaint to the Punjab chief minister. In a few days, when nothing was done,
the young nurse tried to set herself ablaze in front of the press club because
she had been dismissed from service without her dues, was being threatened,
and the culprit was still at large. The Punjab health secretary promised to get
her justice.
In the Lahore HighCourt a case was pending against the PIAadministration
over the alleged sexual harassment faced by women pilots who alleged that
their promotions were subject to how sexually available they were to the
management.
(iii) Harassment by law enforcement agencies
Police largely played the role of a coercive force against women.
Throughout the year, scores of media reports covered women moving courts
to seek protection after they married of their own choice and were harassed by
their families in collusion with the police.
In January, it was announced that in order to encourage women to lodge
first information reports (FIRs) against violation of their rights, special Ladies
Complaint Units would be set up in police stations.
In March, police used batons and tear gas against women health workers
protesting in Hyderabad and arrested several of them.
In April, police officials in Dipalpur were accused of covering up the rape
and murder of a fourteen-year-old housemaid, Khalida, by her employers.
In the same month, it was announced that women complaint centres would
be established at police stations of all four provinces under a project called
ìGender Responsive Policingî.
In June, 10 women workers were injured in a clash with city police during
a protest against the attempted abduction of their fellow worker by some men
in Muzaffargarh.
It was announced by the government in June that Womenís Crisis Centres
in Punjab, which provide essential services to victims of abuse and violence,Women
166
may close down due to lack of funds.
In July, a woman constable accused senior officials of Lahore Police of
forcing junior cops into sexual liaisons and threatening them with punishments
and defamation if they did not comply.
In August, a parliamentarian from Chakwal was accused of sexually
harassing a minor and then threatening to bring the Chakwal Police down on
her if she said anything. The lawmaker denied the charge, calling it politically
motivated. The case was dropped.
In October, police baton charged a procession of Lady Health Workers in
Karachi who held a rally to lodge a protest against non-payment of salaries for
months.
In November, nurses protesting for their rights in Lahore were mercilessly
beaten by the police.
Physical violence: the ultimate deterrent to women
Domestic violence showed a marked increase in the first six months of
2011 as compared to the previous year, according to the monitoring cell of
Aurat Foundation, with 4,448 cases reported. Abduction and kidnapping
remained the most common crimes (1,137 cases), with murder (799 cases),
rape and murder (396 cases) being the second and third most commonly
reported crimes. The figures for the Punjab were higher than those for Sindh,
which was a change from last year, but the figures may be a result of what is
reported and what remains silenced due to cultural pressures.
According to media monitoring by HRCP, there were reports of at least
366 women who suffered some form of domestic violence in 2011. Of these,
nearly all victims were married women with only two of them unmarried, five
widows, and two divorced women, and the perpetrators were mostly husbands
or other close relatives. The families were nearly all of them from the working
class with only one victim being a female doctor. The reasons given for the
violence were domestic dispute and the suspicion of illicit relations.
Amongst the worst hit were 38 women who suffered from acid attacks, 47
were set on fire, 81 suffered attempted murder, 98 were tortured, 10 women
had their heads shaved as part of public humiliation, and nine women had
their nose or other parts of the body amputated as punishment.
In February 2011, the Senate was informed that over the past two years
8,433 cases of violence against women were registered in Punjab and a total
of 11,798 all over the country.
It was reported at a discussion organized by ëInsani Haqooq Ittehadí, a
conglomerate of civil society organizations based in Islamabad, that more than
80 percent women were subject to physical or psychological domestic violence,State of Human R gi ht ni 2011
167
which often went unreported since 66 percent women accepted it as their fate,
33 percent merely complained while less than 5 percent took concrete steps
against it.
Cultural justification of violence: the ìhonourî crime chart
Throughout the year, women were callously killed in the name of ìhonourî
when they went against family wishes in any way, or even on the basis of
suspicion that they did so. Women were sometimes killed in the name of
ìhonourî over property disputes and inheritance rights.
According to media monitoring and field reports from HRCP volunteers,
at least 943 women were killed in the name of honour, of which 93 were
minors. The purported reasons given for this were illicit relations in 595 cases
and the demand to marry of their own choice in 219 cases. The murderers
were mostly brothers and husbands, in 180 cases the murderer being a brother
and in 226 cases being the husband of the victim. The majority of cases (557)
were of married women. Before being killed, at least 19 women were raped,
12 of them gang raped, and the means used were mostly firearms but also
blunt weapons and strangulation. Among the honour killing victims were seven
Christian and two Hindu women.
Only 20 women killed in the name of honour were reported to have been
provided medical aid before they died.
Women murdered for reasons other than these numbered 936, of which at
Relief for flood-affected women in Sindh.Women
168
least 532 were married and the killer was the husband in 259 cases, the victimsí
brother (52 cases), father (18 cases) and other close relatives (92 cases). They
were mostly shot dead or strangulated.
Dying in anger
According to newspaper reports, 701 women committed suicide and 428
tried to end their lives during the year under review. The numbers tend to be
higher for the provinces of Punjab and Sindh and more police reports were
filed there. The absence of such reports from Balochistan and Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa may signal a silencing of what is considered family tragedy so it
does not go on police records nor is it reported in the press. Informal sources
in hospitals confirm the suicide rate to be much higher but fear of criminal
proceedings prevents themfrom being registered. The high incidence of suicide
points to an alarming social phenomenon.
The profile of women attempting or taking their own lives makes them
between 15 to 30 years of age and largely from the working classes. A large
number of them were married with only 133 suicides of unmarried young
women and 173 of them minors, and the reason cited is generally domestic
disputes, unemployment and financial problems. Among younger women,
emotional despair on account of denial of the right to choose a life partner or
maltreatment by an abusive or violent partner were among the reasons cited.
Some suicides of married
women with children also
involved the children in their
attempt. A very small number
of suicides had to do with
public humiliation of the
victim. Most of the victims
took poison, or shot or hanged
themselves.
Unlike the general
theories on suicide, in
Pakistan suicide is not a result
of social isolation or occurs
from feelings of alienation.
Rather, the contrary may be
true here, with the social order
being over-determined by
strong cultural mores
Advocating an end to discrimination in laws.State of Human R gi ht ni 2011
169
governing the lives of both men and women and the family playing the
regulatory authority. Suicides among women were generally not a result of
abject poverty and hopelessness, as is the case in men, since women are
generally not responsible as heads of households. It seems they are more a
result of being denied the right to express themselves as human beings and a
denial of bodily rights.
The reported incidents of women committing suicide included the
following:
¨ Two young women from village Zagal were brought to Agency
Headquarters Hospital in Khar. Both succumbed to self- inflicted injuries.
Doctors at the hospital said about 200 people had committed suicide in Bajour
Agency in the past year.
¨ An 18-year-old girl jumped from the historic wooden bridge at
Konodas in Gilgit. Her brother claimed her body, saying she ended her life
over a minor domestic dispute.
¨ A 16-year-old girl jumped to her death from a mountain in an
Abbottabad village for unspecified reasons.
¨ A woman drank pesticide and administered it to her five-year-old
daughter in a village in Hafizabad on the second day of Eid. It was reported
that she was tired of the abject poverty of the household.
¨ A woman was cutting fodder in the fields with her brother-in-law in
Sargodha when she was overpowered by two men and repeatedly assaulted.
After 20 days of torment, she set herself ablaze after being taunted by people
and since there was no action by the police.
¨ A 25-year-old woman in Sialkot went to a lawyer to file a complaint
where she was assaulted and raped by the lawyer and his accomplice. She
climbed on to the ledge of the three-storey building and attempted to jump to
her death butshe was prevented fromdoing so and the lawyer was apprehended.
¨ Awoman committed suicide in Toba Tek Singh after her family refused
to marry her to a man of her choice.
¨ A girl and a young man took poisonous pills and ended their lives in
Arifwala. Both were relatives and wished marry but their families did not
approve.
Recommendations
1. More women need to be represented in decision-making bodies like
the federal cabinet.
2. While some progressive legislation concerning women was passed inWomen
170
the National Assembly, there is the need to follow up on its implementation
and for there to be exemplary cases.
3. Parallel adjudication systems like the Federal Shariat Court, and
informal jirgas and panchayats need to be brought within the purview of civil
courts especially in matters concerning women.
4. More women and transgender people need to be facilitated into the
workforce on better terms of employment to make them a part of the social
force and able to withstand family pressures and domestic violence.
5. Bill against domestic violence needs to be passed and laws framed
for implementation.

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