No sanc­tu­ary for women?

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - — The writer is free­lance colum­nist, based in Is­lam­abad Arslan R Ma­lik Email: in­for­marslan@ya­

SABA was gunned down by her fa­ther in Lahore. Zeenat Bibi was burnt to death by her mother in low in­come neigh­bour­hood of Lahore. Su­maira’s throat was slit­ted by her brother who mur­dered her by us­ing a kitchen knife in Karachi. Khan­zadi Lashari was killed by her hus­band on hon­ey­moon night in Ja­cob­a­bad. Muqad­das Bibi was killed by her fam­ily mem­bers in Gu­jran­wala when she was preg­nant for her sec­ond child. Th­ese all women were killed by their fa­ther, mother, brother, hus­band, and fam­ily mem­bers. Th­ese are some cases of women killing in Pak­istan by their fam­ily mem­bers, who are con­sid­ered to be the cus­to­dian of women.

In such cir­cum­stances where women are not safe at the hands of their par­ents, brothers, and hus­bands then what can be ex­pected from so­ci­ety? In our so­ci­ety there is no as­sur­ance of re­spect for women. Some­times this so­ci­ety burns her in Mur­ree while she was in a holy pro­fes­sion of teach­ing, some­times she is sub­jected to deroga­tory re­marks such as trac­tor and trolly on the floor of Na­tional As­sem­bly, and some­time she has to face ver­bal abuse in TV show by a Se­na­tor of a re­li­gio-po­lit­i­cal party. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion of Pak­istan in 2015,1096 girls be­came vic­tims of hon­our killings in Pak­istan. 144 of them were burnt to death by acid or fire. 939 be­came vic­tims of rape.In 2014, the num­ber of girls who be­came vic­tims of hon­our killings was 1005. 153 of them were burnt to death by acid or fire, while 828 girls were raped.

Does it not mean that women don’t have any safe place in Pak­istan? What are the fac­tors which have made Is­lamic Repub­lic of Pak­istan a dan­ger­ous country for women? How can we tackle this sit­u­a­tion? Th­ese all ques­tions pose a se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion. So­cial be­hav­iour is one of the fac­tors that cause ver­bal abuse and vi­o­lence against women. Over­all beav­iour of the peo­ple in Pak­istan is not so good. Their deal­ing with each other is not re­spectable. When it comes to women then their be­hav­iour be­comes ruder. The in­ten­sity of bad be­hav­iour to­wards women is to the ex­tent that we even curse women when we are fight­ing with a male by us­ing the names of his mother and sis­ter. It does not mat­ter that what was the rea­son be­hind quar­rel but both sides ex­change bad words for women of each other. Such a rude so­cial be­hav­iour of males causes vi­o­lence against women in Pak­istan.

Many peo­ple of Pak­istan are lack­ing aware­ness. Such peo­ple are both lit­er­ate and il­lit­er­ate. They may have got ed­u­ca­tion but they couldn’t get aware­ness. They are slaves of their whims. They con­sider women as in­fe­rior crea­ture of to whom they can do what­ever they want. Such a feel­ing of su­pe­ri­or­ity makes them rude in their deal­ing with women. In our country women usu­ally be­come vic­tims of vi­o­lence in the name of Is­lam. Peo­ple are re­li­giously rad­i­calised to the ex­tent that they took ugly steps against women on their lit­tle mis­takes. They don’t go for any other op­tion then killing them at once. This is be­cause of the rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion and mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Is­lam pre­vail­ing in our so­ci­ety. Holy Qu­ran and ex­am­ple of Holy Prophet (PBUH) clearly guide the Mus­lims to be tol­er­ant to­wards the women folk. It is a time to take this is­sue se­ri­ously that women are not safe in Pak­istan both phys­i­cally and men­tally. They have to face phys­i­cal pun­ish­ment from their guardians and they also have to face ver­bal abuse from whole so­ci­ety. This bru­tal­ity against women is not only in Pak­istan. This is­sue is also in many de­vel­oped coun­tries cur­rently. We should see that how other coun­tries are tack­ling this is­sue.

Be­sides this, it is a time to ed­u­cate peo­ple about sta­tus and rights of women. They must be taught the true teach­ings of Is­lam so that they may not be rad­i­calised. Once they get aware­ness, they might change them­selves. Hence, they will be able to ed­u­cate their women so that they may not take any step which may hu­mil­i­ate their men. As a re­sult there would be lesser scases of ver­bal abuse and hon­our killings. Our ju­di­ciary will have to play its role to erad­i­cate this evil from our so­ci­ety. We will have to im­ple­ment as­sure the em­pow­er­ment of ex­ist­ing laws pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tion for women.

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