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Murders of women on rise; 432 killed in six months

Karachi: Increasing cases of murders of women and girls in Pakistan has fully exposed the gender vulnerability in Pakistan, as 432 women have been killed in the first six months of the current year, said president Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) Zia Awan.

He said the growing gender discrimination and violation of women rights has created an alarming situation in Pakistan. Referring to Madadgar National Database report he said that from January to June 2012 as many as 432 cases of murder of women were recorded in Pakistan, whereas 736 women were killed in the year 2011.

The noted human rights lawyer said from January to June 2012, the Madadgar National Helpline received 2,808 calls of victims of violence and abuse and also handled 531 walk-in-clients, extending services to them. The helpline facilitated the heirs in 36 cases of murder of women.

Awan regretted that the rising incidents murders of women and children show the tendency of our society to take the rights of women and children for granted. He said this trend is on the rise, as the number of walk-in clients increase every year. He demanded of the government and civil society to give a serious focus on gender-related issued to create gender justice in Pakistan. He urged the law enforcement agencies to take serious steps to save lives of women and children.

Awan said ironically in many cases women are murdered by their close family members, who later try to dub the killing as suicide. Quoting a case of 27-year-old deceased Mehnaz of Landhi No 6, Karachi, he said she belonged to a poor family that married her off at an early age. She had three children, a son and two daughters. On May 22, 2012 she was brutally murdered by her husband, who hanged her from a ceiling fan and slashed her both wrists. Later, he claimed that she had committed suicide. The brother of the victim contacted Madadgar National Helpline and said that the police was not filing his case. The Madadgar helped him in not only lodging the FIR, but also in the arrest of the accused.

Quoting another case, he said 20-year-old deceased Sajida of Abbotabad married on her free will to Faisal of Baldia Town, Karachi on May 29, 2012. After a few days of her love marriage, she wanted to return back to her parents, but his husband refused. When she insisted hard, her husband strangulated her to death on June 21, 2012. Medico Legal Officer, Civil Hospital Karachi, who also referred this case to Madadgar, carried out medico legal formalities. Madadgar National Helpline pursued the case and FIR was lodged and the accused was arrested.

Awan said there are a lot of cases in which innocent women and girls like Mehnaz and Sajida are murdered cold-bloodedly and the killers go scot-free as the protection of women and girls is not on the priority of either government or society. He demanded joint efforts of government, civil society, media, judiciary, parliamentarians and academia protect the rights of the women and children in Pakistan.

Daily Times