Although the visibly baffled Karachi police reportedly claimed Friday they had traced the footprints of the mysterious knifeman guilty of stabbing around a dozen women across the metropolis during the last few weeks, a wave of terror is bound to grip the largest Pakistani city till the culprit is handcuffed and formally brought to justice.
Research conducted by the “Jag Group and Geo Television Network” shows that knife attacks against women are a common feature around the globe and it is not a new phenomenon or mode of crime unfortunately.
Even some of the world’s most famous sportswomen like Monica Seles were attacked in Hamburg with a knife in 1993.
On April 30, 1993, then-world No. 1 Tennis star Monica Seles was attacked by a knife-wielding man called Gunter Parche, an obsessed fan of another Tennis great Steffi Graf.
Gunter ran from the middle of the crowd to the edge of the court during a break between games and stabbed Monica Seles, a former Yugoslav world no. 1 professional tennis player and a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Seles was attacked with a boning knife between her shoulder blades, to a depth of 1.5 cm.
Having won the French Open for three consecutive years and triumphed at both the US Open and Australian Open in consecutive years, Monica was quickly rushed to a hospital after the incident.
Although her physical injuries took only a few weeks to heal, she did not return to competitive tennis for more than two years.
The German authorities had described her attacker as confused and possibly mentally disturbed.
The culprit Gunter Parche was charged following the incident, but was not jailed because he was found to be psychologically abnormal, and was instead sentenced to two years’ probation and psychological treatment.
At that year’s Wimbledon, the players’ seats were consequently positioned with their backs to the umpire’s chair, rather than the spectators.
Here follow a few more recent incidents where women in Pakistan and around the world were attacked with knives:
Research shows that on July 29, 2017, a judicial magistrate in Lahore had sentenced a lawyer’s son Shah Hussain, the primary suspect in Khadija Siddiqui stabbing case to seven years in prison.
The Magistrate had announced the verdict after finding Shah Husain guilty of attempted murder. The court had ordered police to immediately arrest Husain.
Khadija, a law student, was attacked by her class fellow, Shah Husain, on May 3, 2016, near Lahore’s Shimla Hill where she along with her driver had gone to pick her younger sister from school.
Both sisters were about to get into their car when the helmet-wearing suspect attacked Khadija with a knife and stabbed her 23 times–leaving her critically injured in a pool of blood.
The Sessions court in Lahore had granted Husain bail after he had spent two months behind the bars, making the victim Khadija suspect that the attacker was released because he belonged to an affluent family.
It is imperative to note that on May 23, 2017, Chief Justice Lahore High Court, Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, had taken an administrative notice of the delay in the trial and directed the court to conclude it within 30 days by holding a day-to-day hearing.
In neighbouring India, known as the rape capital of the world, knife attacks against women are very common.
Around 327,000 crimes against women were registered last year in India, most of these involving rape or rape attempts.
Many of these rime incidents had involved criminals armed with knives.
India’s National Crime Records Bureau statistics said that more than 35,000 incidents of rape had occurred in three years across India and almost 93 rapes were committed in the country each day.
According to a June 6, 2016 BBC report, a Delhi court had found five men guilty for the 2014 gang rape of a Danish woman, who had lost her way to her hotel in Delhi’s Paharganj area when she approached the men to ask for directions.
The 51-year-old tourist was robbed and raped at knife-point on January 14, 2016. Nine people, including three minors, were arrested for the crime.
The BBC had stated: “Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.” ,
According to an August 8, 2015 report of “The Guardian,” five women were killed in eastern India by
villagers who believed they were witches.
Armed with sticks and knives, villagers had dragged women out of their home while they were asleep and beaten to death.
The killings took place in a rural community in the state of Jharkhand, infamous for frequent reports of fatal attacks on women who locals say have cast curses that are blamed for poor crops, illness or misfortune.
The killings often disguise family feuds or land disputes.
On December 28, 2013, according to French news agency “AFP,” a rapist who had attacked a young Spanish woman at knife-point after breaking into her apartment in Mumbai was jailed for life in India.
Badshah Ansari was handed the sentence after a trial heard how the 28-year-old broke into the flat through a window in November 2012 and then raped the victim twice while threatening her with a knife.
The victim – who had travelled to India to learn classical music – left for Germany after the attack but testified about her ordeal via video link.
Interestingly, as the “Telegraph” had reported on January 25, 2013, a political party in India had handed out kitchen knives and chilli powder to women following a gang rape in the capital New Delhi that ignited a national debate on the best way to tackle sex crimes.
The “Telegraph” had reported: “The radical Hindu nationalist party, Shiv Sena, an ally of the main opposition BJP and which governs Mumbai, said it had handed out 21,000 knives with three-inch blades to women in the city and surrounding areas. It plans to distribute 100,000. Mumbai police said they were examining the knives and considering legal action. The party also handed out small bags of chilli powder – apparently to throw into an attacker’s eyes.”
In China, during November 2014, an American Women’s Basketball star had survived a knife attack.
The US Basketball star, Brittney Griner, was attacked by a knifeman after an evening training session with her Chinese team, but downplayed the incident saying she received “a little scratch.”
A report by Chinese news agency “Xinhua” had described the attacker as “drunk” and said he was “immediately controlled by security staff.”
In Iran, during December 2014, the International Gulf Organization for Human Rights had denounced knife and other violent attacks against women in relation to a controversial bill on dressing approved by the Iranian government.
About a dozen of young Iranian women, including at least five university students, were stabbed in their hips with knives in the city of Jahrom. The women were attacked by at least four men riding on motorcycles.
On March 8, 2017, a group of 20 people brandishing knives had attacked an International Women’s Day event at a university in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul–leaving several female students with injuries including stab wounds.
On August 19, 2017, as British news agency “Reuters” had reported, an 18-year old Moroccan man was arrested in Finland for killing two women in a knife rampage.
Eight other people – six of them women – were wounded in the attack. The Police had shot the suspect in the leg before his arrest.
The culprit was an asylum seeker who appeared to have targeted women in Finland’s first terrorism-related attack, police and a Red Cross official said.
Police in Finland said they were investigating possible links to Thursday’s deadly van attack in the Spanish city of Barcelona.
In Egypt, according to a January 15, 2016 report of the “Chicago tribune,” security precautions were increased around the country after the January 8 knife attack that had injured three European tourists at a hotel in the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada. The Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack.
In London, three people were killed or seriously injured in stabbings on the streets of the British capital each day in 2016. Many of these victims happen to be females.
A February 21, 2017 report of the “Evening Standard” had stated: “The Metropolitan Police statistics showed 60 people were stabbed to death in 2016, while 1,159 sustained serious injuries. In total, officers dealt with 21,365 knife crimes, including domestic assaults involving knives and gang attack in London during 2016. The statistics, obtained by the “Evening Standard” under the Freedom of Information rules, show the total number of knife crimes rose by 17 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015 when there were 59 deaths, 1,089 serious injuries and 18,202 less serious offences. In 2016, 4,316 people were threatened or injured with a knife or other sharp instrument compared with 3,846 in 2015, a 12 per cent increase.
On April 27, 2017, the “BBC” had maintained: “During 2016, 32,448 knife crimes were recorded in London- an increase of 14 per cent on the previous year.”
In France, on October 2, 2017, two young women were stabbed to death at Marseille city’s main train station, Saint Charles, in a suspected terrorist attack. One victim
had her throat slit and the other was stabbed in the stomach. They were aged 17 and 20.
According to a BBC report, soldiers on guard at the station shot dead the attacker, who police described as of North African appearance and aged about 30.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he was disgusted by the “barbarous act” and paid tribute to the soldiers and the police officers who responded.