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Maltreatment of women during raid slammed

KARACHI – Speakers at a demonstration on August 24, condemning the maltreatment committed against the women during and after a recent raid on the Prince Cinema have demanded that all the police officials involved in the action be taken to task immediately.

Speaking at the demonstration organized by an NGO, the Women Workers’ Help Line (WWHL), which is working for women’s rights, at the Press Club, they further demanded that a high-level judicial inquiry be conducted into the matter, and all those involved be brought to book.

Police claims that ‘immoral’ activities were being carried out in the cinema. The police, during the raid, pulled the women by hair and pushed them around. The entire episode was telecast by various private television channels.

They criticized the administration for not involving policewomen in the raid, when it knew that a large number of women would be present in the cinema. The speakers, Shahla Rizwan, Sohail Raza, Ali Hassan, Haji Bashir, Nasir Mansoor, Sherbaz, Zehra Khan and others, said that owing to the discriminatory laws formulated by dictators and under the prevailing feudal mind set in the society, women were being treated as ‘third-class’ citizens in the country.

They said that though the government was a signatory to various international human rights agreements, including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, the women were meted out inhuman treatment.

They said that the police committed all these atrocities against the women in the presence of a minister, belonging to a political party that claimed to be a progressive party. They said that it is unfortunate that the minister and the police chief, who was also present on the occasion, did nothing to stop the police atrocities.

Criticizing the role of various religious parties for condoning police brutality against the women, they said that silence of the religious parties on issue suggested that they also supported this kind of barbarism against the women.

Source: Dawn

Date:8/25/2004

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