Report on Violence against women launched in Islamabad

‘Zero tolerance against all sorts of violence in Pakistan’ urged

Islamabad – Speakers at a report launch on Tuesday, urged the legislators to adopt Domestic Violence Bill (DVB) at the earliest, as the number of reported “incidents of Violence against Women (VAW) mounted to 8000 during 2010.”

These findings were shared at the launch of annual publication of Aurat Foundation (AF) which is a compilation of reported cases of VAW in all four provinces and Islamabad. The report entitled ‘Violence against Women in Pakistan: A Qualitative Review of Statistics for 2010’ has been compiled by AF and Violence against Women Watch group and it “is based on the reported cases in local print media.”

Anis Haroon, Chairperson of National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) chaired the seminar while the key speakers included Dr Rakhshanda Parveen, Director of Creative Anger; Ehsan Sadiq, Assistant Inspector General of Police Islamabad; Naeem Mirza and Rabea Hadi of AF.

Dr Rakhshanda Parveen, author of the Report while sharing the key findings said that “out of a total 8000 incidents, as many as 5492 cases of violence were reported from Punjab; 1652 from Sindh; 650 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 79 from Baluchistan and 127 from Islamabad.” The figures of Islamabad are disturbing given the smaller population and high security maintained in the capital, she added.
Out of the total incidents, 2236 women were abducted; 1436 women were murdered and 557 were killed in the name of ‘honour’ killing; 928 women were raped; 633 women committed suicide; and 32 women were made victim of acid attacks. “This is a grim reminder that evil social practices persist in our society, such as exchange of women to settle disputes judged by jirgas, or killing in the name of honour” mentioned Rabea Hadi.

It is pertinent to point out that the Report showed a positive sign with a decrease of 6 per cent in the VAW cases as compared to the preceding year in 2009. But at the same time, it is also a warning for the related authorities as it presents a pretty grim picture of the overall state of affairs regarding violence against women in Pakistan.

Ms Haroon was of the view that “one of the key issues such as violence against women is being neglected due to over-publicity of the issue of terrorism in the country.”

Ehsan Sadiq said that “although the situation of VAW is not satisfying, but a lot of cases are now being registered, which is a sign towards a positive change in society.”

Speakers urged “zero tolerance against all sorts of violence in Pakistan.” Naeem Mirza observed that “only zero tolerance for violence against women, commitment to peace and democracy and strengthening of political institutions can save us.” He also noted that “Karachi, a highly populated city showed less violence compared to other big cities of the country.” The objective of the report is to create awareness on the prevailing situation of women in the country and point out the glaring inhumane treatment meted out to the female population.”

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