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Pakistan's condition appalling with regards to empowering women: Report

ANI | Updated: Mar 09, 2022 15:06 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 9 (ANI): Pakistan's hierarchical and patriarchal society has a long way to go with regards to women's empowerment and addressing crimes against women, a media report said on Tuesday.
Issues such as the wage gap are a far cry in a country where the major issue facing women is still the threat of physical violence, Islam Khabar said, adding that the notion of female empowerment in the country seems to exist only on paper.
The horrific practise of honour killing is prevalent in Pakistan, wherein the perpetrators are victims' own family members, the report stated.
Highlighting the prevalence of prejudices even in the top institutions of the country, the report cited the Lahore High Court's acquittal of the prime suspect in the murder case of model Qandeel Baloch. The model was strangulated to death by her own brother, Muhammad Waseem, in 2016. Waseem claimed that videos and photographs posted by Qandeel on social media were embarrassing to the family.
Sometimes, the families may even hire strangers to murder the women in their families for "crimes" such as having sexual relationships, having a boyfriend, marrying without family consent, failing to prove virginity on the wedding night, being a rape victim, leaving an abusive husband, using a mobile phone, and posting on social media, the report said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan routinely blames the victims themselves, criticizing them for adopting the "immoral mannerisms" of the west. In a 2021 interview, he reportedly said, "Men are not robots, ladies wearing small clothes impact them," the report further said.
The report also pointed out the threats and the warnings women faced from both radical organisations and the government for organising the 'Aurat March' on the occasion of International Women's Day.
In 2021, nearly 34,000 Pakistani women lodged complaints regarding different types of offences. The highest number of complaints (up to 71 per cent) were received from the Punjab province. In the last five years, nearly 41,000 women have been reported missing in the Punjab province alone, the report said.
"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," the report said quoting Human Rights Watch's (HRW) annual World Report 2022.
According to 'Global Gender Gap Report 2021', Pakistan ranked 153 out of 156 countries on the gender parity index, that is, among the bottom four.
Human rights activists in the country assert that Pakistani society needs to change from within and alter the social structures and narratives that enable such heinous crimes. Meanwhile, any deeper change in Pakistani society's treatment of women may be a distant dream, the report concluded. (ANI)