IF THE recent attacks on women in Wah Cantonment are anything to go by, it seems that with each passing day, women in Pakistan have fewer reasons to feel secure in their own country. In the past week, an unknown group of men, said to be students of a madressah attacked six women at different places, using blades and sharp objects as weapons, because they want “women to remain indoors”.
These attacks – the first of which was carried out on a 14-year-old girl followed by another attack on a schoolteacher who mercifully remained unhurt – have created widespread panic among students so that attendance in schools has seen a significant drop. The perpetrators of these crimes have accomplished their aims of keeping the women indoors. Who will be bold enough to stand up and reprimand these so-called guardians of morality who think nothing of using violence to achieve their aims?
For its part, the administration has beefed up security in all public places. One hopes that some semblance of normality will return. One can understand if such attacks on women had occurred in a rural backwater. But Wah Cantonment, like many of the cantonments in the country, is a modern area less than an hour’s ride from Islamabad. So a crime of this nature taking place there is as puzzling as it is cause for concern. It only adds to the sense of unease and helplessness, particularly among women, at the rise in crimes against them. It doesn’t help that religious or political parties do not openly condemn such crimes or that women themselves feel that they cannot seek relief from the judicial system. Until and unless the government takes serious note of the rise of such incidents and provides women with a real sense of protection and safety, women will continue to be victimized and society will become increasingly apathetic to such horrors.