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A tale of three unfortunate women

Karachi: Three brave women narrated their sorrowful tales to highlight the sorry state of women rights at a press briefing on Monday at the Madadgaar Helpline office on the eve of International Women’s Day.

Also, the NGO shared data of the last two months in which around 765 cases of violence against women were reported across the country.

One of the women, 18-year-old Komal, who recently escaped from a prostitution den in Safoora Goth, said she was forced into prostitution for two years by her husband.

“After my father passed away in 2006, his friend, a police inspector Akram Cheema, held us hostage, and started living in our house. He got me and my two sisters married off to the owners of a prostitution den,” said Komal. Her husband, Mohammad Razzak, had married five times.

“When I refused to indulge in such dirty work, Razzak and the rest of the men would beat me up and rape me. There were fifteen other women with me who were also forced into prostitution. The men even made videos of us.”

Komal was sent to dens in Nawabshah and Hyderabad, while in Karachi she was forced to “serve” people in Gulistan-i-Johar and Defence.

“My price was Rs50,000 for a week. The owners got the money and did not give us a single penny.”

Komal finally got a chance to run away from the horrifying life and with the help of the NGO reached the police.

“Though the police conducted a raid on the den on February 26 and many girls were recovered, my sisters were not found. I request the high-ups to save my family,” she pleaded.

Another young woman, Raisa, shared her tale of being subjected to domestic violence. “On the first night of my marriage, my husband forcibly took back the Haq Mehar money by forcing me into signing papers. That was the beginning of my bad days.”

Later, he snatched her gold jewelry, cut her hair, burnt her arm with an iron, and thrashed her every single day.

“Though he has divorced me, he continues to threaten me as I’ve moved the court to get back the dowry money.”

Shabiran, a widow hailing from Jamshoro, is fighting against the murderers of her husband. They are no other than her brothers. “It is embarrassing to say that my own brothers are responsible for messing up my life. They killed my husband, took over my property and house, and made me live the life of a scum,” she said amidst tears.

Despite the fact that Shabiran’s case reached the court twice, it got dissolved as her brother is a DSP. “I don’t know what to do. I’m working as a domestic worker to support my children.”

Out of the 765 cases of violence reported against women, 150 were tortured, 122 were murdered, 71 were raped or gang-raped and 104 were trafficked during the last two months.

Project Coordinator of Madadgaar Helpline Zia Ahmed Awan said that only 10 percent of the cases of violence against women could come to the fore.

“A majority of the women do not report cases as they avoid going to police stations and courts. The situation of women rights is very alarming, and the government has failed to provide protection and security to the women living in this country.”

He said that action should be taken against Jirgas which pass discriminatory decisions on issues relating to women.

“It is the prime responsibility of the government to empower women. Also the government should make sure that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women which it has ratified should be implemented.”

Source: The News

Date:3/8/2011

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