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ISLAMABAD (December 05 2007): About 4101 persons fell victim

ISLAMABAD (December 05 2007): About 4101 persons fell victim to honour killing (karo-kari) in the past four years of which 2774 were women. Only 3451 cases were approached to courts. While talking to Business Recorder the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) representative said that NWFP is the violence-hit area where honour-killing rate is higher due to strict customs and traditions.

This is the state of affairs whereas commitments are being made at official level that strict laws will be enforced against honour-killings, domestic violence and other crimes against women but the ground realities remains unaltered, they said.

A lot of discussion on the right of women is taking place both at public-forums, the parliament, a permanent national Commission on the status of woman has been established and legislation to stop crimes against women are proposed, the state has failed to protect women from increasing incidence of violence. State of Human Rights shows that poverty is the root cause of violence against women and children, they added.

Figures on the high rates of infant and maternal mortality indicate that combination of illiteracy, lack of healthcare and poor awareness contribute to dismal figures on the health of mothers and children, they said.

Honour killing is largely accepted and condoned by NWFP communities and domestic violence is considered a family matter and nobody interferes in such cases. Moreover the statistics show that domestic violence is seldom reported.

However it comes to the forefront when it exceed the accepted limits and even then it is hushed up to preserve the family honour. With the increase in the types of crimes in Pakistan like gang rape, public stripping and burning that were unheard in the past in NWFP, are now being reported with an increased frequency, they said.

According to statistics domestic violence in some form or the other is part and parcel 98 percent of women lives in NWFP culture regardless of class and status, they said.

Since establishment of legal aid cell by the NGOs the number of legal support applications received by the cell shows 99 percent cases related to domestic violence, they said.

In face of all these facts and figures it is the time for all governmental or non-governmental organisations working for women development to realise and acknowledge the growing intensity of domestic violence as an issue of major concern and its growing negative impact on the overall social development, they concluded.

Source: Business Recorder