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Crimes against women frequent in urban districts

ISLAMABAD: As many as 29,505 FIRs were registered in 55 districts being monitored by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) during April 2011. Serious crimes such as murder and rape were frequently reported in urban districts of the country. The highest number of FIRs, 98, regarding murder were registered in Karachi while the district of Lahore reported the highest number of rape cases, 29.

Crimes against women are generally regarded as the outcome of certain socially sanctioned prejudices against women, especially in rural and largely inaccessible Tribal Areas. However, data suggests that such crimes may be prevalent in developed urban centres of the country as well. During April 2011, most crimes against women occurred in Lahore.

In order to collect crime statistics, FAFEN governance monitors visited offices of the district police officers (DPO) in 55 districts in April 2011. Of these, 23 districts were monitored in Punjab, 14 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 12 in Sindh, five in Balochistan and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Patterns of reportage varied across different regions in the country. More than half of all FIRs filed against each category of crime were lodged in DPO offices monitored in Punjab. On average, each monitored district in Punjab recorded a total of 1,069 FIRs. Sindh, ICT and KP followed with an average of 209, 205 and 136 FIRs, respectively. With an average of 58 FIRs in each monitored district, Balochistan emerged as the province with the least number of reported crimes. On the whole, more districts were monitored in Punjab. The region is also more densely populated, which may be a factor in the number of FIRs. While the high numbers of crime of all categories in Punjab is cause for concern, it also shows better reportage and increased level of trust between the people and public institutions. Similarly, lower number of registered crimes in other regions does not imply that crimes are less prevalent there, but could indicate reluctance by police to record crimes, lack of public trust in law enforcement organisations, or a preference for parallel justice systems like ‘jirgas’ or ‘panchayats’.

It was noted that crimes causing physical harm to people made up a fifth of all FIRs registered in the country in April 2011. These included murder and attempted murder, which together made 47 percent of all FIRs registered regarding physical harm across the country. On average, 22 FIRs were registered against murder cases per day in the 49 monitored districts.

Crimes against women constituted 3 percent of the total crimes, and on average, 28 crimes against women took place each day in the reporting districts. The regions of Punjab and Sindh reported more crimes against women — 79 percent and 12 percent respectively – compared to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan, which reported 6 percent and 1 percent of the total, respectively. The most frequently occurring crime against women was kidnapping, abducting or compelling a woman against her will to marry, with 304 FIRs, followed by rape with 186 FIRs. Honour killings, which as per common perception, occur in remote rural communities with a feudal social setup, were also observed in an urban district, Faisalabad, where two cases of honor killings were reported.

A quarter of all reported crimes in April were related to property with a total of 7,329 FIRs registered in monitored districts nationwide. Region-wise, monitored districts of Punjab reported 90 percent of these FIRs followed by 7 percent in Sindh and 1% each in KP, Balochistan and ICT.

The number of registered crimes of threat and fraud was 2,540 (9 percent of the total). Districts monitored in Punjab reported an overwhelming 92 percent of these crimes while the regions of Sindh, KP and Balochistan reported 5 percent, 2 percent and 1 percent respectively of the total of such FIRs. No FIR was reportedly registered against any of the crimes in this category in ICT during April 2011.

Source: Daily Times