With 4 to 5 rape cases daily, Pakistan's Punjab declares 'rape emergency'

Edited By: Nikhil Pandey
Islamabad, Pakistan Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 05:17 PM(IST)

Pakistan has been suffering and battling a gender violence epidemic and violence against women cuts across classes in the country. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Pakistan's Punjab province has decided to declare an "emergency" amid a rapid increase of reported cases of sexual abuse against women and children. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Punjab Home Minister Atta Tarar said that an increase in such incidents was a serious issue for society and government officials.

Have you ever heard of a region in the world where an emergency is declared because of rapes? It is happening in Pakistan. In its Punjab province, rape cases are so endemic that the local government has decided to declare an emergency.

While sceptics may say it is a diversionary tactic by the government to shift attention away from local political turmoil, Pakistan's record on sexual violence against women makes this news very easy to believe.

According to information released by the Punjab Information Commission, a total of 2,439 women were raped and 90 were slain during the course of the previous six months in the Punjab region of Pakistan in the name of "family honour."

More than 400 women were raped and more than 2,300 were kidnapped during this time in Lahore, the metropolis of the 110 million-person Punjab province.

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In Pakistan, at least 11 rape crimes are reported every day, and over 22,000 such occurrences have been reported to police in the last six years, according to a recent report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) (2015-21).

According to the findings, society gives offenders an unfair edge by blaming victims.

With an overall conviction rate of less than 1%, there has been a dramatic increase in cases rather than a decline.

According to the report, only 77 out of the 22,000 charged were found guilty, making the conviction rate under 0.3%.

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Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Punjab Home Minister Atta Tarar said that an increase in rapes was a serious issue for society and government officials.

"Four to five cases of rape are being reported daily in Punjab due to which the government is considering special measures to deal with cases of sexual harassment, abuse and coercion," he was quoted as saying by Geo News.

"To deal with rape cases, the administration has declared an emergency," he stated.

Violence against women is pervasive in Pakistan and affects all socioeconomic strata. Pakistan has been suffering and fighting a gender violence epidemic.

According to the Global Gender Gap Index 2021 rankings, Pakistan comes in at number 153 out of 156 nations, barely ahead of Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

According to a research in the International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS), Punjab reported the greatest number of women in Pakistan over the past four years at 14,456.

In addition to this, there has also been a significant increase in the harassment of women at work, domestic violence against women, and other forms of discrimination against women.

"The 5,048 cases of workplace harassment of women and violence against women reported in the country during 2018 followed by 4,751 cases in 2019; 4,276 cases in 2020 and 2,078 cases in 2021", the Human Rights Ministry document said.

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Pakistan is the third most dangerous country for women in the world

Pakistan is the third-most dangerous country in the world for women, according to a 2011 survey of experts conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation Poll. It stated that 90% of Pakistani women experience domestic violence and noted the more than 1,000 women and girls who are killed in "honour killings" every year.

Westerners frequently link religious tyranny to the condition of Pakistani women, but the truth is much more nuanced. In strictly patriarchal nations like Pakistan, a particular mindset is profoundly instilled. For basic rights, acceptance, and respect, poor and illiterate women must fight every day. Even though these women are frequently the family breadwinners, they must live in a culture where they are defined by the men in their lives.

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