Pakistan: Violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights on the increase and still no protection

In its fifth report on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Pakistan, Amnesty International summarises the current government's commitments to uphold Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's rights, describes cases of abuses, the failure of the criminal justice system, and sets out recommendations.

'Domestic violence, which includes physical abuse, rape, acid throwing, burning and killing, is widespread in Pakistan. Few Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights make official complaints and those that do are often dismissed and sent back to their abusive husbands,' Amnesty International said. 'The law is not being applied equally and verdicts often reflect the gender bias of individual judges.'

Very poor Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from religious minorities and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights bonded labourers are particularly vulnerable to violence in the community and home.

Acid-throwing is on the increase. Acid burns do not usually kill but result in hideous disfiguration and suffering, destruction of self-esteem, and confine Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights to the home. The government has done little to restrict the sale of acid or to punish those who use it to injure Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

Forced marriage of young girls continues to be reported and while slavery is illegal in Pakistan, girls and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights continue to be traded to settle debts or conflicts. The open sale of girls and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in markets is reported in underdeveloped areas such as parts of Balochistan.

Pakistan is both a country of origin and a transit country for the trafficking of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights for domestic labour, forced marriage and prostitution. This form of slavery is organised by crime networks that span South Asia. Some Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, both local and trafficked, are killed if they refuse to earn money in prostitution.

'Honour' killings continue to be reported daily. In the higher levels of government and the judiciary, 'honour' killings have been recognised as murder, yet there has been little effective action to prevent them from happening.

In March 2001, a 60-year-old widow, Hidayat Khatoon, and 55-year-old Baksh Ali were killed by the widow's son in Chandan village, district Sukkur. When the son surrendered to police, he said that he had been teased by villagers over his mother's alleged affair and had therefore killed both.

In November 2000, Mohammed Umar Magsi killed his 11-year-old daughter with an axe because he suspected her of having an affair. When his wife and younger daughter tried to intervene, he killed them as well. On 8 January 2001, Riaz Ahmed axed to death his wife, three daughters and two sons, because he suspected his wife of adultery. On 16 January 2002, Jamal threw hand grenades into his father-in-law's house when his wife refused to return to him, killing five of her relatives and injuring eight.

The emergence of 'fake honour' killings is a worrying new trend. There is a pattern of men accusing their wives of being dishonourable with wealthy men purely for financial gain. The wife is declared 'kari' (black woman, one who brings shame) and is killed. The suspected man is then made to pay off the husband and is 'pardoned'.

Physical abuse of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in custody continues to be rife in Pakistan. Despite promises of police reform, police continue to use torture to intimidate, harass and humiliate detainees to extract money or information. Rape in custody is widespread.

'Amnesty International's recommendations are well within the powers of the Government of Pakistan to implement and do not require a huge investment of resources. They do require political will and the determination that violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue,' Amnesty International said.

'However, underlying the abuses suffered by Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights is a discrimination perpetuated by society as a whole. In this regard, everyone has a role to play – government, political parties, religious groups, all elements of civil society and individuals. Everyone has a responsibility to commit themselves to the equality of all human beings, irrespective of gender.'

Read the Report

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