KARACHI, Nov 11: Women rights bill passed by the National Assembly last year has not yet changed the state of women in the country, particularly in Sindh where nearly four hundred women and girls were killed on different pretexts during the last 10 months.
At least 1,481 persons, including 367 women and 21 minor girls, were murdered this year in various parts of the province, reveals a report compiled by Lala Hassan and Hina Tabassum of the Aurat Foundation.
The report says that over four people are being killed daily on an average in the province. Of 287 people murdered on the pretext of karo-kari (honour killing), 183 were women. More than 25 women were murdered by their brother in-law on the pretext of karo-kari or domestic conflicts in Kashmore, Sanghar, Shikarpur, Larkana, Khanpur, Tangwani, Obavro, Lakhi and Ghotki. One such case was that of Farmana who was murdered on the pretext of karo-kari after being captured as she had left home for marriage by her free will near Mirpur Mathelo of Ghotki district.
A married woman, Reshma, was killed on the premises of Quaid’s mausoleum. Nasima and Shahida were murdered by their former husbands after their second marriage in Khairpur and Larkana, respectively. Mona was gunned down allegedly by her ex-husband after their divorce in Karachi.
According to the report, although 177 couples approached courts for marriage, 129 women asked for shelter and protection owing to threats to their lives and dignity against their free-will marriage.
It discloses that proceedings of illegal jirgas continued in various parts of Sindh despite a ban imposed on the parallel judicial system by the Sukkur bench of the Sindh High Court. At least 84 jirgas were held on women-related issues this year, it adds.
Suicide, rape & kidnappings
Referring to the figures collected from citizens’ action committees for women’s rights and media sources, the report says that 118 women committed suicide and 134 others attempted to commit suicide owing to joblessness, forced and underage marriages, domestic violence, poverty, illness and conflict since the beginning of the current year.
Four women, including minor girls, were raped and murdered. Forty-two women were gang raped, 49 were raped while attempts of rape were made on 47 women. One such woman was Hasina who died during delivery after being raped by her brother in-law. She was married to a nine-year-old boy as compensation near Thureri Muhabat.
At least 148 women were allegedly kidnapped and 44 others survived kidnapping bids. Sixty-one women went missing in different parts of the province during the last 10 months.
Torture and arrests
Forty-nine women were physically tortured and some of them lost pregnancies during alleged raids by police. Police also arrested 123 women either in place of their male relatives who could not be arrested or on different charges. The report also refers to the alleged torture meted out to a French researcher, Florence, in Thatta. She was reportedly robbed and tortured by a police officer over compliant against robbery. No departmental action was taken against the accused officer.