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Let’s mourn a tragic death

Atrocities against women continue unhindered in Pakistan. Not a single day passes without the news of honour killing, rape, acid throwing incident and similar kinds of crimes against women.

Recently a provincial minister for Social Welfare in the government of Punjab, Zille Huma Usman was murdered by an individual who afterwards boasted that he also had plans to kill Mohatarma Benazir Bhutto.

It boggles one’s mind that a person who is a certified serial killer was free to move in our society. He went on killing spree in 2002 and 2003. The man after killing Zille Huma said that he considers it against the Islamic teaching for a woman to attain a position of importance. One wonders that how a beast was permitted to live freely in our society. This speaks volumes about the dilapidation of this society, called Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

It is surprising that the government, which boasts, enlightened moderation and women emancipation as its major plus downplayed the news of the murder Of its women minister. If this incident had happened in Afghanistan, our rulers would have been in the forefront of condemning the incident.

It is also surprising that the independent channels as well as the state run television gradually started downplaying the news in their successive news bulletins.

The assassin Maulvi Muhammad Sarwar, a serial killer had killed several women in 2002 and 2003. According to the news reports, at least in one of these murder cases, he had admitted in the court of killing one prostitute at Heera Mandi Lahore.

He was acquitted within 18 months from all these murder cases as most of the kins received attractive money or did not appear in the court. It is also reported that the local police had been hunting for him for a year. But it is astonishing that he was running a locksmith shop but the police never knew about his whereabouts.

Since the dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq religious schools have mushroomed in the country and there seems no control over their working and what they teach to the young minds. In most of these madrassahs the students are taught selective interpretation of Islam without any context. The students are made to believe that it is their religious duty to compel others to follow their brand of Islam and it is right to kill women in one pretext or the other.

They are also taught to take arms against those who differ with them religiously or ideologically. This teaching of madrassahs has encouraged and promoted intolerance and violence in the Pakistani society and because of them we have reached a stage where anarchy is looming in the fringes of our country and its system.

The government, which claims to be moderate, has not paid attention to several calls from the democratic forces to control this violence against women. Recently during the by-election in Jamshoro Sindh, member national assembly Dr. Azra Pechoho sister in law of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, escaped miraculously when the bodyguards of a provincial minister attempted to assassinate her.

The information Secretary of Pakistan Peoples’ Party and Member, National Assembly Sherry Rehman is still being treated in hospital for the injuries inflicted to her by unknown attacker while she was in a rally protesting against the massive rigging in the by­election in Karachi.

A few questions about the murderer of woman minister arise in the mind: Why and how was he acquitted in the multiple murder cases? Who paid the attractive sums of money to get him acquitted as reported in the press? Why was a serial killer allowed back in the society? In the presence of dozens of eye witnesses and the admission of the murderer what investigations are police holding now?

The biggest question is that who is answerable to these questions. Is the regime accountable, which has focussed on only one target and that is how to continue ruling the country? Is it the judiciary, which acquits a serial killer? Is it the society, which tolerates the atrocities, committed against its daughters?

Laila Wasif

Source: The Nation

Date:2/27/2007

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