Empowerment is real honour for women
By Farheen Rizvi
Recently in Chiniot a Panchayat decided to gang rape a 14-year-old girl Saleem Bibi for 26 days whose crime was to marry with the man she likes. The local administration took action and arrested six men who were involved in kidnapping and raping her after the Panchayat’s decision. Two Police officials were also allegedly involved in kidnapping and raping that 14 year old girl.
In Oct. 2011, Chiniot police was held responsible in torturing a woman who was protesting against the murder of a man of her family. CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif took action against the crime and sent the delegation for the investigation in which Chiniot city Police SHO Sheikh Tahir and SHO Sadar Zafar Ahmad were responsible.
In July 2010, Chiniot Punchayat declared an eight-year-old girl and her mother for honour killing. Police officials recovered the two women from the custody of Rana Basharat, a local village land lord and registered a case against the culprit.
In 2008, five women were buried alive in Baluchistan because they wanted to choose their own husbands. Israr Ullah Zehri told parliament that northwestern tribesman had done nothing wrong in first shooting the women and then dumping them in a ditch. “These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them,” he said. “Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid.”
Mehnaz Rehman, Resident Director of “Aurat Foundation”, said to a local newspaper that honour killings are on the rise, especially in Sindh. In 2010, 147 cases were reported in the first half of the year because of weak laws. She said “Despite a ban, jirgas are still being held. The criminals can easily escape and there are no strict punishments”.
These crimes against women in Pakistan are on rise. Women are more than half in population but are not treated like a human being especially in rural areas. The lack of education and the feudal mindset imposed by the powerful junta has become an integral part of the system of Pakistan. Above crimes show the local Police involvement with the high profile locals and failed judiciary system.
The 2010 report of Human Right Commission said “rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, honou crimes, abuse, and discrimination against women remained serious problems in Pakistan”. The report further said, “there were accusations of security forces raping women during interrogations. The government rarely took action against those responsible.”
The “Global voices” stated that One third of women in Pakistan are uneducated and have very little concept about making their own choices.”
Have we forgotten the role of Madam Fatima Jinnah in Pakistan movement? She was not accepted by the male dominated society as a ruler and was defeated by Ayub Khan in the election. Shaheed BB was twice elected PM of Pakistan but she experienced a lot of gender discrimination as the first Muslim woman prime minister by an extreme mindset. She said once “I found that a whole series of people opposed me simply on the grounds that I was a woman. The clerics took to the mosque saying that Pakistan had thrown itself outside the Muslim world and the Muslim Ummah by voting for a woman, that a woman had usurped a man’s place in the Islamic society.”
The reports from different areas showed that no government has ever taken interest in empowering the women. Here MQM is the prominent party which has taken powerful steps for women rights whether supporting Women Protection Act in 2007 and Protection against Harassment of Women in the Workplace Act in 2010; or rally against women got flogged in the public by extremists in Swat valley. MQM has always nominated women equally with men for the Houses on merit. ex- senator and ex- deputy mayor Nasreen Jalil, Senator Shirala Malik, MNA Khushbakht Shujaat, MPA Bilquis Mukhtar, MPA Zareen Majeed, Baloch Minister Nadia Gabol ,Sindhi MPA Heer Soho and woman from Hazara Community Laila Perveen as CEC member are the examples who are working vocally for the women in all parliamentary level. MQM has always been vocal against honour killings, marriages with Quran and it is the part of their manifesto. Now MQM is the first party which is raising voice on women rights on February 19 by holding a grand meeting at Bagh-e-Quaid-e-Azam.
The step of empowering women will not only bring the strength and security to their lives but will create a better and stronger Pakistan, the Pakistan which was the dream of the Quaid; as he said once: “I have always maintained that no nation can ever be worthy of its existence that cannot take its women along with men. No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world. One is the sword and the other the pen. However, there is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.”