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Rape in Sialkot

Since Ziaul Haq’s Islamisation and its discriminatory laws against women, violence against women in all its forms has been on the increase. The absurdity of these laws can be gauged from the harrowing case of a blind girl from Sahiwal in the 1980s. She had been gang-raped.

But as she could not produce four pious witnesses, nor identify the rapists, she was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.

The rape of the Daewoo hostess is horrifying. She was surrendered quietly by her two escorts, the driver of the van and the security guard. These two gallant males then drove away without compunction, leaving their charge at the mercy of her abductors and rapists. They did not protest. Giving a chase to the car of the criminals or disabling it by firing at its tires was a far cry. Even our laws, such as they are, extend their right of private defence to killing the intending rapists.

In stark contrast to the conduct (or perhaps misconduct) of these two was the performance of Pervez Masih of the International Islamic University. Though hired as a cleaning help, and not as a security guard, he grappled the suicide bomber, embracing sure death, in order to save girl students, a frequent target of the Taliban. In the old colonial days such valour, which was clearly beyond the call of duty, would have merited a posthumous George Cross. But in our Land of the Pure, well, “yeh khoon-e-khak nasheena tha / rizq-e-khaq hua”.

Left to herself the hostess would have fared better. She is a brave woman. After a night of torture and humiliation she had the courage to go to the police, and demonstrated presence of mind to lead them to the scene of offence. Even in the west, where the laws and customs are not discriminatory, many rape victims avoid reporting the crime for fear of staining their reputation.

Our clerics are never tired of moralising and condemning the west for its waywardness and immorality. Here is a leaf from the Danish statute book for them to ponder. Under the laws of Denmark anyone who witnesses an offence being committed and does not intervene to prevent or stop it is held guilty of cowardice and is punished.

K M Chima

Islamabad

Source: The News

Date:2/13/2010

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