You can never really expect a ‘good’ morning in Pakistan.
After waking up from the sleep last morning, I logged into my facebook account to just get a daily dose of news updates. As I scrolled down my home page, a link shared by a friend caught my eyes that completely bewildered me. The news headline read, “Pakistan ranked as THIRD most dangerous country in the world for women.” I tried to ignore the news ‘labelling’ it a false, rumor story but then I thought to undergo a process of research and thinking on the it.
The process that I did was just a track down of past few years of Pakistan where extremism, radicalization and terrorism had dominated the image of the nation, and where poor-stricken and underprivileged women were often seen as innocent victims of the disease of extremism and terrorism. I recalled how women in Pakistan are just not ‘equally’ treated like men; how they are deprived of their basic rights to live with freedom – free from all sorts of impositions; how they are less accessible to education; how they are less accessible to different sectors in Pakistan when it comes to employment; and how they are treated when what they do is just ‘defend’ their rights or ‘voice’ their concerns.
There are numerous incidents that happen daily in developing countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh etc. that are primarily centred around women. For instance, in the largest city of Pakistan, Karachi, alone, on average, over 100 women are raped every 24 hours. Furthermore, of those raped, only a minor faction have the courage to report their cases to the justice system. This is largely due to delay in justice system as well as lengthy medical processes. In 2007, over 2000 women were raped in Pakistan with only 20 % of rape cases carried forward. Surely, this number would have increased by 50 % or more today, but it seems that the justice system of Pakistan is far from bringing culprits to justice or even giving protection to the women. To add to the injury, we will find the image of women in Pakistan being put at stake every day ‘differently’. Just two days ago, two men stripped a woman naked and parraded her in a village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Pakistan’s most conservative province. What else greater crime could those men be committing for deteriorating an innocent woman’s image in front of her neighborhood? Is this not a signal of growing injustice in the society or are we just too occupied to let that happen?
With so many problems digging the country further into erosion, the problem of ‘women protection’ in Pakistan remains prominent. It is the government’s foremost duty to make education more accessible to the women of Pakistan, especially the young girls residing in remote villages/rural areas of Pakistan, who due to absence of education or so, end up being a victim of local tribal tyranny and injustice. Together with this, the government needs to frame a solid policy regarding the treatment of those who violate the system of justice such as rapists and bring that it into action immediately. A system of monitoring such policy and ensuring that law-enforcement agencies do their job honestly should be formulated.
It is the time, the government of Pakistan and its justice system, recognize women as the valuable members of society who are just as equally rightful of living in a society with tranquility and peace as men. Further worsening conditions of women in Pakistan, will just curb the power of growing libertarianism in the nation and once again, will give a handy opportunity to the extremists, of ‘legally’ (as they say) flogging, torturing and raping innocent women.
A woman’s hopes are woven of sunbeams; a shadow annihilates them. ~ George Eliot
This post was submitted by Faraz Ahmed Shaikh.