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120 rape, gang-rape cases in Sindh

KARACHI — Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza Thursday told the provincial assembly that 114 cases of rape, six of gang-rape, 15 of sexual assault and nine of gender harassment were reported in the province during May 1, 2008, to October 31, 2008, whereas most number of rape cases, 33, were reported in Karachi.

He was replying to the queries of lawmakers. According to Mirza, women do not report such cases because of the social compulsions and restrictions while majority of the matters are usually settled outside court. The Home Department has established complaint cell at every police station of the province.

Answering another question, the minister said the ratio between the number of crimes, including rape and gape rape, and conviction of the accused was very low because of lack protection for the witnesses. However, his department had submitted a plan to the chief minister for rehabilitating the witnesses at safer places, he added.

To another question, Mirza told the House that 38 cases of physical abuse of women, 37 of domestic violence and one case of acid burns were reported during the said period.

Minister further said an Anti-Honour Killing Cell had been established in Sindh Police, currently functioning in Sukkur region with the assistance of UNDP. However, no women police officer was working at the facility.

Awareness and education could change the mindset of people to honour the women and to avoid violence against them, he remarked.

Source: The Nation