HRCP concerned over violence against women in Pakistan

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has voiced "alarm" over increasing violence against women in Pakistan.

Updated: Sep 18, 2013, 19:05 PM IST

Islamabad: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has voiced "alarm" over increasing violence against women in Pakistan.

The HRCP said it has "watched with grave concern" the rising incidence of violence against women in Pakistan in recent days.

"Unfortunately, such incidents have always been commonplace in the country but now such reports are coming not from far-off places but from the main cities. Several cases of rape have been reported from the Punjab in the past few days, including that of the five-year old child," it said.

In the city of Lahore alone, police had registered 113 cases of rape from January 1 to August 31 this year, it said adding over the same period, 32 gang-rape cases were also registered.

According to media monitoring by HRCP, a NGO, until the end of July this year, at least 44 women had become targets of acid attacks, seven of whom had died as a result of their injuries.

As many as 44 women had been set on fire, 11 had died in such attacks.
Nearly 451 women had been killed in Pakistan in the name of honour in 2013 by the end of July, compared to 918 killed in 2012.

Meanwhile, an official report say rape incidents have drastically increased in the last two years.

Since 2011, over 600 rape cases were registered with the human rights cell of the Law, Justice and Human Rights Ministry, but the number of reported cases was higher and almost crossed 3,200 during this period, a media report said.
Most of the victims were in their teens.

This was stated by the Ministry in a report submitted in response to Awami Muslim League Parliamentarian Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, who had earlier sought details of cases of violence against women, Express Tribune reported.

Lawmakers and civil society activists said the conviction rate in rape cases was very low and due to the slow pace of cases in the courts, there were threats of violence and familial pressure on the victim to avoid "shame".

HRCP said a combination of factors has contributed to this culture of violence against women and impunity for the perpetrators.

"One is the perpetual living in denial and a persistent refusal to acknowledge as a society that we have a problem of pervasive violence against women that needs to be addressed urgently," it said.

The statement added it is "unfortunate that such violence has not been adequately condemned by prominent members of society and political leaders".