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‘Women MPs not focusing on prevention of domestic violence

ISLAMABAD, March 2,2005: Women parliamentarians have not played their part to help prevent cases of domestic violence, particularly acid throwing and stove blast incidents.

This was the viewpoint shared by human rights activists working against domestic violence while talking to Dawn. They said despite of promises made by women parliamentarians to act against incidents of all forms of domestic violence and other crimes against women, ground realities across the country remained unchanged.

Figures provided by a local NGO, Progressive Women Association (PWA), showed that 7,000 burn cases were reported in only four hospitals of Rawalpindi and Islamabad regions alone.

PWA Chairperson Shehnaz Bukhari said the above figures did not represent the true picture as hospitals neither admitted burn cases nor provided actual figures in this regard. Women with severe burns have been turned away from hospital gates, she added.

The chairperson said there were no proper burn centres to attend to victims of domestic violence. “There is a piece of land in Rawalpindi with a signpost installed for last 12 years reading Burn Crisis Centre.”

She said the 200 or so women MPs, MPAs and senators had been a disappointment so far. Ms Bukhari said a lot of funding was being made by France and Germany just for this cause. However, nobody knows where the funds go, as the burn victims do not get these, she added.

“Even the law is not on their side. The system provides no justice to women who are the victims of domestic violence.” She said out of 366 burn cases in 2003, only nine were taken to court. Similarly, the figures for 2002, 2001 and 2000 are seven out of 294, 11 out of 375, and seven out of 427 burn cases, respectively.

Source: Dawn