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Women’s rights

EDITORIAL (April 10 2007): According to a recent Aurat Foundation report, at least one woman was murdered every day in Sindh during the first three months of the current year. Every second day men killed a woman of their family after declaring her Kari.

In the same period, 24 women committed suicide while 25 others attempted to kill themselves for reasons like domestic tension or violence, financial constraints and underage marriages.

The NGO has counted at least 37 illegal Jirgas, which announced their unlawful judgements over women-related issues; eight women, including minor girls, were given as compensation to settle bloody conflicts in Shikarpur, Ghotki and Tando Ghulam Ali. During the same quarter, six women were reportedly sold in different parts of Sindh.

Police arrested 53 women from across the province for their failure to disclose the whereabouts of their men who were wanted for different crimes. The police physically tortured 10 women out of them. Ghotki police arrested a husband and wife because the couple could not produce their marriage certificate. They were beaten and dragged to the police station.

The report goes on to reveal such incidents as would sound like happenings at some another planet, or coming from the dark ages. Statistically speaking, the first quarter of the current year has not been better or worse than the corresponding quarter in the last year or, for that matter, any three months 20 or 30 or 50 years ago.

The worst thing emerging from the report, however, is that these acts of highhandedness against women are somehow approved by the general public. Or, in other words, the society does not seem to be much bothered about them.

All this happens while we incessantly talk of catching up with the scientific advancement of the developed world. If we look into the details of the incidents reported by the NGO, we find that most of the male perpetrators of crimes against females are themselves poor and dispossessed. Mainly belonging to rural areas of the province, they are serfs of powerful landowners.

In our social context, they are termed as innocent citizens who are generally wronged against day and night. However, when it comes to their own family life, they appear to be the most stubborn violators of human rights. Someone rightly said that what a nation gives to its women, it gets the same from the outside world.

This seems to be entirely true of us. Those among us who want to compete with the people of developed nations should first attend to the cruel treatment meted out to women. We need to stop violations of human and women’s rights at home first, only then can we go out to demand justice and respect from the outside world.

Source: Business Recorder

Date:4/10/2007

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