No action taken to recover 18 year old

February 2, 2009

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: No action taken for the recovery of an 18 year old girl who was raped and kidnapped by the relatives of a minister

An 18-year-old girl, Ms R, of Pathan Mohalla, Mithiani, Tehsil and district Naushahro Feroz, Sindh province, trafficked to a family through marriage, has been raped by her father-in-law and other male members of his family for a period of almost one month. After she managed to escape, a Jirga (illegal court) was held and they ordered that the girl be returned to her parents. However, a second Jirga, conducted by Mr. Noorul Khan Bhurt, nephew of a Provincial Minister on Livestock, ordered that she be returned to her husband and his family on the basis that the girl’s parents had accepted money in exchange for the girl’s marriage. With the order of the second Jirga, the girl was kidnapped on October 21, 2008 and since that date her whereabouts remain unknown. Because of the involvement of the Provincial Minister the police are not taking action against the abduction and continuous rape of the girl. Please refer to our urgent appeal AHRC-UAC-008-2009 (A girl was raped and kidnapped by the relatives of a minister and her whereabouts are unknown).

After the passing of more than three months the Sindh provincial government has not taken any action to recover the girl from the clutches of the relatives of the Minister and his family. The safety and security of, not only Ms. R, but all the people under their jurisdiction is the prime duty of the provincial government. However, instead of living up to this responsibility government is instead protecting the minister and his henchmen. It is also reported that after the issuance of the urgent appeal from the AHRC, the Mithiani police station, whose station house officer was allegedly involved in providing safe passage to the abductors, has contacted the parents of the girl and threatened that if they continued to involve the minister and his nephew they would be arrested on murder charges. As per the details given in the aforementioned UA one of the attackers that raided the house of Ms. R’s family was shot dead.

The Asian Human rights Commission urges provincial government to recover the girl from the abductors and respect her rights provided by the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Pakistan is signatory. It is obligatory for the government to follow the covenant and protect the life of each and every citizen without discrimination. The government must take stern action against the perpetrators and their henchmen regardless of their positions in the government, their power or their wealth. Pakistan has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against women (CEDAW) but has avoided implementing the convention in its true spirit. Taking the path of least resistance it is keeping the existing political system running because of the powerful feudal lords and tribal leaders who hold Jirgas against women.

Gendercide in Pakistan: Women are a colonized population!

By Fauzia Rafiq

Aurat Foundation has released numbers for the First Quarter of this year, January to March 2008: 91 days. Just for now, i will count them 90 in honor of the 90 Shaheed Women who were reported to be killed for ‘honour’ in these three months.
90 ‘Honour’ Killings…

This is somewhat the picture that emerges from this report:

Each Day in Pakistan
1 woman is killed for honour (read ‘male honour’)
4+ women are murdered (‘murdered by men’)
2+ women are abducted (‘abducted by men’)
1+ women are injured in ‘domestic violence’ (‘wife assault, daughter assault, sister assault, daughter-in-law assault, sister-in-law assault’)

Each Week in Pakistan
4+ women are raped
1+ women are gang-raped
5+ women commit suicide
2+ women face ‘custodial violence’ (‘sexual, physical, psychological abuse by officials while in police custody’)
2- women face sexual assault
1+ women are burnt (‘burnt with kerosine oil’)

Each month in Pakistan
1 woman faces acid attack

This is how a month looks like
30 women are killed for male honour
122 women are murdered
82 women are abducted
39+ women are injured in ‘domestic violence’
20 women are raped
6 women are gang-raped
22 women commit suicide
11+ women face ‘custodial violence’
8 women face sexual assault
5+ women are burnt

Women Are A Colonized Population in Pakistan
This is 152 women killed every month; and, 193 women abducted, battered, raped, gang-raped, violated in police custody, sexually assaulted, acid attacked and burnt. No wonder 22 women choose to end their lives each month.

Where 367 women are killed/assaulted/raped/humiliated each month, the entire population of women of that country is subjected to a minimum of 367 violent, cruel and gender-biased threats on monthly basis.

As well, and at the same time, 367 messages of vulgar victory are delivered to privileged Muslim men around the country.

The history of the colonization of Pakistani women may not be short and sweat but it is for sure un-complicated. In a feudal/tribal/religious society, the implementation of Muslim Sharia Laws, the Hudood Ordinances, provided what was lacking: the divine sanction to subjugate/abuse a whole population group to serve another. The Military, the MullaN and the US Empire have all benefited at the expense of Pakistani politicians and bureaucrats who are now reduced to errand boys/girls helping out to manage and exploit an already dis-empowered population.

Out of this, women, who are more than half the number of men, are rendered expendable. The ‘Declaration on Burying Women Alive/Killing of Women in the Name of “Honour” and other Customary Practices’, passed by women’s and human rights organizations in Islamabad after a national-level consultation in September, acknowledges and points to the situation like this:
‘that we will no longer allow women to be used as pawns – as convenient expendable targets – in feuds between men over murder, property, money, political and tribal rivalries, blood vendettas and misplaced perceptions of “honour” issues;’

Which Women?
The women being murdered, assaulted and mutilated in Pakistan are not you and me. I may be a ‘kari’ but i will not be the one caught/flogged/stoned/killed. It is inevitable that the woman who will suffer this punishment will be a woman of less social and economic status or a woman ‘belonging’ to men of less economic and social status; and, it will not matter if she is a ‘kari’ or not.

A woman Minister was shot dead by the eXtreme MullaNs last year but such instances are few and far between. So far, its 91 under-privileged women to about 1-2 privileged women a year.

Just as the war in Vietnam became an issue for American people and the Western world only when white soldiers began to die there in numbers, the gender-cide in Pakistan remains un-acknowledged by Pakistani people and the world because the women being killed/assaulted at the minimum rate of 367 per month do not belong to the privileged classes.

The ‘acknowledgment’ of gender-cide is not sought from the Military, MullaN or the Empire but from the progressive politicians, academicians, professionals, activists and bureaucrats who are engaged in a fight for peace, democracy and human rights.

We have to acknowledge a situation of urgency before we can respond to it; and, this is one such situation. Because you know why?

The ‘367 per month’ is an Inaccurate Number
Based on the information released by Aurat Foundation for the First Quarter of this year, the number of ‘honour’ killings rose from 1000 a year in 2001-2002 to 1192 a year in 2008. However, I truly believe that the actual number of killings is much higher.

Most cases involving lesser women/people do not get registered to be counted in researches and surveys. ‘Rapes and gang-rapes are a dime a dozen in feudal Pakistan; exploitation, of women, as also of other lesser mortals is managed in urban environments with sophistication. Neither, gets reported in routine.’ In Search of Decency by Zafar Samdani

There are graves being un-earthed in Pakistan of unregistered crimes against women. ‘… during the past two years, as many as 100 young girls and women had been murdered and their graves were unearthed recently.’ Motion Filed in Senate Against Killing of 100 Women

Delivering Justice to (under-privileged) Women
This is an article published in 2004 where the author recalls the memory of Nawabpur case that had happened in 1984. Beginning with the ‘Elder’ of the avenging family, the author has this to say in The tormenting memory of Nawabpur by Omar R. Quraishi :
‘One can only be astonished by the audacity of this man who probably saw it fit to deny or justify the parading of women naked at gunpoint, because one of their relatives allegedly had an affair or affairs with female relatives of the men who came to take revenge.
(Touch-wood 2008: Mir Israr Ullah Zehri)
‘A military court heard the case and after the incident an amendment (through the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance 1984 – Section 354 A) was inserted in the Pakistan Penal Code.
(Touch-Wood 2008: Laws will be amended, Sherry Rehman)
‘It increased the maximum sentence from two years in jail to capital punishment for anyone who forced a woman to strip naked in public. Despite that, the men tried in the Nawabpur case were not given capital punishment or even life sentence.
(Touch-Wood 2008: The more influential culprits in the Baloch women case have not even been charged yet)
‘In fact, two months later they were all released on bail. Akbar’s shattered and broken family left the village fearing that the released men might return and persecute them.’
(Persecution is on. Three older women were buried alive for objecting to the earlier alive burials of five women.)

The Most Unfortunate Fact is the People Who Are Killing Women
In the case of Five (now Eight) women who were buried alive in Balochistan, seven people were arrested, and this is who they are:
‘The arrested include the fathers of the three girls, a brother of two of the girls, a cousin of one of the girls and two others whose identities have not been disclosed’.

This is robbing the hearts and souls of women. One hell of a scary ‘family’! I wonder why a society continues to protect it.

And that is why if we cannot mount enough legal and social resistance in Pakistan and outside to protect women in their homes, we will be putting a vast majority of women’s population at an increased risk of violence and abuse from ‘displeased’ and now a bit ‘hunted’ men in their lives.

This is even more true where women are living in tribal, rural or extreme religious home/family environments.
Aithae vudh hyati nochdae/mere sajjan saak peyarae

An Unscietific Indicator of the Current level of Resistance on this Issue
I am proud to belong to some of the most vibrant Pakistani lists on the Net; foremost among them is the one used by five organizations of progressive workers, peasants, women, and rights activists with over 3000 members.

On September 26, ‘Zardari flirts with Palin’ and ‘Zardari calls Palin gorgeous’ were posted with ‘Three more women buried alive in Balochistan today’.

From September 26 to October 1, the first two drew 19 and 6 posts while the third got 2.

From those two, one was mine.

I think that it is almost a true indicator of the order of our priorities in Pakistan; and in that order, women receiving alive burials for wanting to exercise their basic human rights are remembered twice every 25 instances of imperial gossip.

Related Content
‘Violence Against Women’? No! GENDER-CIDE in Pakistan!
Women Slam Govt Against ‘Honour’ Killings
1. Kikli 13 July Punjabi Roman
Shaheed Bibi Fauzia
2. Fauzia of Mir Wah English
2a. Mir Wah de Fauzia Punjabi
Shaheed Bibi Benaam 1
3. Mir Wah de benaam Chhori Number One Punjabi Roman
Shaheed Bibi Jannat
4. Swal Jannat da NahiN Roman
5. Vaen (mourning)
5a. Vaen Shahmukhi
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6. Hun MainuN Na Ro

Islamabad Declaration on ‘Honour’ crimes

We publish this Declaration with our heart-felt and active support for the understanding, recommendations and demands outlined here to fight all forms of violence against women in Pakistan.

And, indeed women killed thus are our heroes because they are the ones who likely stood up for their rights; creating pathways for all of us to walk with dignity and honor.

Burying Five Women Alive in Naseerabad and the Customary Practices

ISLAMABAD: Representatives of civil society organizations and committed activists from all over Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Jacobabad, Khairpur, Larkana, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Naseerabad, Mardan, Swabi and Islamabad gathered here in Islamabad for a national consultation on 18 September 2008, on the issue of ‘Burying Five Women Alive in Naseerabad and the Customary Practices’.

The Consultation was called together by the Joint Action Committees (JACs), Women’s Action Forums (WAF chapters), Insani Haqooq Itehad (IHI) and Violence Against Women (VAW) Watch Groups. The Consultation discussed the issue in detail in a day-long deliberation and devised strategies to deal with the alarming situation of violence against women, particularly the cases of heinous nature such as honour killings, gang rape, acid throwing etc.

The Consultation has issued the following declaration after the conclusion of its deliberations:

Declaration on Burying Women Alive/Killing of Women in the Name of “Honour” and other Customary Practices
18 September 2008: Islamabad

We, members of the Joint Action Committees (JACs), Women’s Action Forums (WAF chapters), Insani Haqooq Itehad (IHI) and Violence Against Women Watch Groups, hereby declare:

that burying women alive or killing them is the most inhuman, heinous, barbaric, unspeakable crime amongst the vast spectrum of violent crimes against women;
that the defence of such cruel inhumanity in the name of so-called ‘honour’, or tribal customs, traditions and norms is totally unacceptable and indefensible; and that such traditions are NOT honourable;
that we will no longer tolerate the impunity of such instances of brutal killings of women in the name of so-called “honour” ANYWHERE in Pakistan;
that we will continue to condemn and abhor and work against ALL such crimes against women, reported from any part of Pakistan;
that we will employ all our strengths, energies and efforts to prevent any form of a cover-up of such heinous crimes against women by the entrenched tribal, feudal and patriarchal structures and systems, whether demonstrated by the political elites, the legislators, the judiciary, the police, or the federal, provincial, district or local administrations; or by self-styled religious vigilantes;
that we will no longer allow women to be used as pawns – as convenient expendable targets – in feuds between men over murder, property, money, political and tribal rivalries, blood vendettas and misplaced perceptions of “honour” issues;

We demand the following immediate actions from the Government of Pakistan:
1. Civil Society Commission to prepare an independent Fact Finding Report.
2. Letters of concern to Parliament.
3. Shaheed Auratain (Women killed in the name of ‘honour’ are Martyrs) – raise these women to hero status
4. Long March for Shaheed Women
5. Disqualification of Senator Zehri and all those public representatives who defended ‘Honour Killings’.
6. Demand a legislation against Jirgas/Panchayats/Informal judicial structures.
7. Dua for Shaheed Aurtain and offer Namaz-e-Janazaa
8. Focus groups with legislators to discuss the Honour killing law (Dec 2004) and the necessary amendments.
10. Encourage other senators to initiate complaint against Zehri tin the Senate.
11. Launch a Poster and Media campaign.
12. Documentary on such issue should be publicized
13. Visit and offer Fateha at graveyards of women killed under the name of “honour” .
14. Protest outside Joint Session on 20th Sept in Islamabad and provincial capitals
15. Signature campaigns
16. Form a group of concerned individuals including lawyers, retired Judges, Human Rights activitsts and media personnel that should include some eminent personalities to follow such cases
17. Vigilant committees in region to monitor day to day updates and reporting to everyone.
18. Acknowledge the courage and stance of Senator Yasmeen Shah and many media persons who have continued to report on this issue despite threats to their lives.
19. Dedicate 16 Days of Activism this year (2008) to Shaheed Women Killed in the name of Honour.
20. We demand that public representatives denounce all forms of killings particularly of women whether in the name of ‘honour’, ‘tradition’ or ‘custom’.

• Women and human rights group will hold 4 seminars at Provincial levels in the interior of the country in order to build vocal support against ‘honour killings’.

• We call upon the government representatives to stay vigilant in order to identify the preparation of such a crime as ‘honour killing’ so that prevention measures can be timely taken up.

• The government should provide protection to potential victims of ‘honour killings’ and restraining orders be passed against those accused of conspiracy to murder.

• Those threatening women activists and Parliamentarians for denouncing the act of ‘honour killings’ should be proceeded against under the law.

• The Penal Code needs to be further amended so that murder is brought back as a crime against the state and should under no circumstances be compounded. Murder of members of vulnerable groups be taken as an aggravated rather than mitigated circumstance.

• A high powered commission be set up to present a report to the Parliament on Violence Against Women (VAW), particularly focusing on state responsibility and to present its conclusions and recommendations for legal policy action by the government.

• The government should provide protection to women NGOs deserving to undertake fact finding missions in incidents of ‘honour killings’.

• An Independent Public Prosecutor to nominate a senior lawyer to follow up with the police

More information:

Related Content
Gendercide in Pakistan: Women are a colonized population!
‘Violence Against Women’? No! GENDER-CIDE in Pakistan!
Women Slam Govt Against ‘Honour’ Killings

A Young Woman Accuses Father of Incest

HYDERABAD: A 15-year-old has accused her father of molesting her for the last four to five months that has also resulted in her divorce after she told her husband about her ordeal.

Haseena, 15, resident of a village near Tando Allahyar while protesting outside the Hyderabad Press Club along with her mother, brothers and sisters told journalists that she had married a man named Meeru Solangi eight months back. Two months later, her father Ramzan brought her home and did not allow her to return to her husband. Then he molested her for the last four to five months. She told the villagers and family members but he continued with his actions. Later, when she told her husband about it, he divorced her saying that she was “useless” now.

Hasnaat, the mother, confirmed that her daughter had been molested by the father and said that when her 13-year-old son Manthar objected to his father’s actions, he was beaten up and thrown out of the house. She said that she has six children including three sons and three daughters. She said she does not wish to live with her husband anymore and want a divorce.

Aaj Kal Report