Islamabad [Pakistan], October 5 (ANI): Jail employees in the Attock district of Pakistan's Punjab have been accused of raping and harassing women visiting prisoners, media reports said citing a report by the provincial intelligence centre (PIC).
The report further revealed that drug use is widespread in Attock jail due to the presence of powerful mafias on its premises. Inquiring into the affairs of the district jail, the PIC field staff submitted the report to Inspector General of Prisons Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig on September 30.
The report said that the allegation by a jail employee about the involvement of some staffers in sexual harassment and rape of women visiting convicts was the most horrifying, reported Dawn.
"This is quite disturbing and can lead to a scandal that will reflect poorly on the Punjab administration," it added.
The intelligence staff has urged for an inquiry by a high-powered committee headed by an "upright and honest" officer in the rank of an additional secretary. Revealing the details, the report pointed out that the jail staff was found guilty of violating the jail manual or was involved in "torture, corruption, extortion and sexual harassment " and should be punished.
It called for the protection of the dignity and privacy of women visitors to the jail saying that it is onto jail authorities to safeguard these women. "Besides, all detainees must be protected from sexual abuse and harassment," the report said.
"A girl who visits the jail to see one of the inmates supplies drugs to the prisoners. A pack of charas worth Rs 500 outside is sold for Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,500 inside the prison," the report said.
"Powerful mafias of drug peddlers have deep roots inside the jail with the support of jail administration and are making unchecked profit by selling contraband. And they also pay due share to the jail management," it added.
Violence against women in Pakistan has become a problem that cannot be neglected, as it has become a social norm in the households. The country is regarded as the sixth most dangerous country for women to live in.
Analysts have observed that hitting a woman or exercising domestic violence is much more prevalent in Pakistani households where men consider it a tool to control women.
Rights activists suggest that a woman in Pakistani society faces multiple threats because of her gender. She is seen being publicly harassed, raped, or killed in the name of honour by men who commit such crimes without having fear of being punished and charged guilty, Mehmil Khalid wrote for Dunyanews.
Pakistan has been successful in passing laws to control violence against women. However, the implementation of these laws is still missing, which not only contributes to the cases lingering on but also provides justifications for men to remain adherent to apathy and mistreat women, violating the laws.
According to the Pakistan Ministry of Human Rights which cited the country's Demographic and Health Survey (2017-2018), around 28 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 29 have experienced physical violence.
It has been observed that certain cases registered and found with the police contain inaccurate figures that do not define the exact count of violent crimes committed against women in Pakistan.
The Human Rights Watch in its Annual World Report 2022 cited allegations of extensive rights abuses against women along with children in Pakistan, which ranks 167 out of 170 countries on the Global Women, Peace and Security Index.
"Violence against women and girls, including rape, murder, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage is endemic throughout Pakistan. Human Rights defenders estimate that roughly 1,000 women are killed in so-called honour killings every year," said the HRW report. (ANI)