LAHORE, Feb 2: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has demanded that the authorities fulfill their promise to guarantee women’s safety and dignity of person by ensuring that all those responsible for carrying out or conniving in crimes are punished under the law and a clear message sent out that such crimes will not be tolerated.
Voicing the demand in a statement issued here on Friday, HRCP secretary-general Iqbal Haider said at least two incidents of horrendous brutality towards women had been reported in the past four days. The HRCP was outraged by the crimes which included the stoning to death of a couple in Donga Bonga in Bahawalnagar and the gang rape and humiliation of a teenager in Habib Lebano in Ghotki district. The fact that the acts of brutality took place belied the official claim to safeguard the rights of women.
On January 30, according to press reports, a divorced woman, in her 40’s, and a 45-year-old fellow villager were tied to a tree and allegedly clubbed and stoned to death. Police had stated that three brothers and a cousin of the woman murdered the couple after accusing them of adultery. A ‘panchayat’ in the village was reported to have endorsed the punishment.
In the other case, according to information received by the HRCP, a 16-year-old girl was kidnapped, disrobed and paraded around the village by 15 henchmen of a local feudal lord. She was later gang-raped. The abduction and assault of the girl were apparently carried out because a cousin of her was accused of marrying a woman from the feudal family.
The HRCP, Mr Haider said, could only express deeply felt anger and sorrow over the fact that women continued to be subjected to such grotesque violence. No society which suffered such behaviour could be permitted to call itself civilised. Going by the past record the fact that arrests had been made in both cases was not the guarantee that the perpetrators would be punished.