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Women’s rights situation still grim, says report

KARACHI,At least one woman was murdered every day in Sindh during the first quarter of the current year and three men killed each day form January to March, while every second day a woman falls pray to karo-kari across the province, says a report compiled by Aurat Foundation, a non-governmental organisation.

As many as 262 people, including 93 women and 39 men, were injured from January 1 to March 31. Out of the total people killed, 51 women and 29 men were murdered on the pretext of karo-kari in different incidents of violence.

It said Safia Qureshi was the last victim of first quarter of the current year in Dadu district. She was allegedly murdered by the brother of an MNA, but police did not arrest the main accused. “The accused shot her six times but the mother of the victim forgave the accused due to local pressure,” suggested the report.

According to data collected from citizens action committees (CACs) for women’s rights and media sources, at least 11 women were raped and 17 others gang-raped while rape attempts were made on 15 women.

The accused in Nasima Labano gang rape case has not yet been arrested, while the remaining accused were declared absconders by the police in final challan. The report said Nasima could not get proper shelter due to threats to her life. Rape survivors Nasima Gurgej (Ghotki), Shabana (Thatta), Safia (Warah), Saira (Shikarpur), Hajran (Nawabshah), Ravati (Sanghhar) and others also could not get justice.

Saira was kidnapped and raped by a police head constable in Shikarpur. The accused, Farid Sanjrani, was declared guilty in a jirga decision, but the police department did not take any action against him.

At least 24 women committed suicide while 25 others attempted to commit suicide owing to increasing unemployment, forced and under-age marriages, domestic problems, violence and conflicts. On the other hand, at least 45 women were kidnapped while 19 others disappeared. Some 32 couples married through courts after leaving their homes and 43 women were seeking shelter owing to threats to their lives.

At least 53 women in three months were arrested by the police under different allegations or in place of their accused male relatives who could not be arrested, while ten women were physically tortured by the police. Ghotki police arrested a husband and his wife after the couple failed to produce a Nikahnama. Both were beaten up by the police and were dragged to a police station.

The report said illegal jirgas continued to be held in various parts of Sindh despite a ban imposed on this parallel system by the Sukkur Bench of the Sindh High Court. At least 37 jirgas were held on women-related issues. The police registered seven cases against the jirga organisers. At least eight women, including minor girls, were given as compensation to settle bloody conflicts in Shikarpur, Ghotki and Tando Ghulam Ali. According to reports, at least six women were sold in different parts of Sindh.

Sakina Solangi was injured with acid thrown on her by a man when she refused to marry him in Bhiria City, district Nausheroferoze. A jirga, however, was held without the consent of the survivor and her mother.

According to the report, Sindh High Court’s Sukkur Bench imposed a fine of Rs300,000 on two police officials for registering a case of Zina/Hudood Ordinance even after the promulgation of the Women Protection Act against a couple who married of free will and had moved the court for shelter.

Source: Dawn

Date:4/5/2007

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