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68pc women in country subjected to sexual harassment: Human Rights Watch

By: Shahid Husain

Around 68 percent of women and girls in Pakistan are subjected to sexual harassment, according to the latest Human Rights Watch (HRW) data.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the HRW said the mistreatment of women, including forced marriage, rape and domestic violence, remained a major problem in the country.

Pakistan is counted among those countries that often make the headlines due to domestic and gender-based violence and sexual harassment.

The ratio of sexual harassment victims is alarmingly high in the country. The forms of violence against women include domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, physical and emotional abuse, sexual harassment at workplaces and violence during pregnancy. Acid throwing, honour killing, dowry murder, stalking and trafficking are also regarded as severe forms of gender-based violence.

In the statement, Maulana Mufti Muhammad Naeem, the Mohtamim of the Jamia Binoria Al Aalamia Karachi, expressed concern over the rising cases of domestic violence in the Pakistani society and implored people to recall that the Holy Quran enjoined good treatment of women. “Muslims who are abusive to women actually slander Islam,” he added.

“Allah has enjoined upon men to treat their wives fairly, to the extent that a man is allowed to leave his wife or divorce her gracefully if their relationship becomes strained.”

The religious scholar narrated the following event from the annals of Islamic history: “A man came to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and asked him as to who was the best among men. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) replied that the best among men is he who is the best mannered and is good towards his family and children.” Mufti Naeem went on to state, “Allah and the hadiths of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) clearly forbid violence against women.”

He clarified a widely-held misperception prevalent in a section of the society by firmly stating that Islam did not allow domestic violence and violence against women. “The Holy Prophet (PBUH) clearly forbids such acts,” he said.

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