Friday, March 17, 2023

Detailed report on the safety of women in Pakistan

Our dear homeland is facing serious concerns regarding the safety of women in Pakistan. Recent unpleasant incidents of women harassment in the country has revealed the vulnerability of females in our society. Unfortunately, it is not only the women who have to go through such incidents. Young girls and even toddlers have to pay an equal price of being part of this patriarchal society.

It is so heart wrenching to mention that female bodies are not even safe in their graves. The rising incidents of sexual harassment and abuse against females have resulted in a sense of continuous fear among females of Pakistan, regarding their security.


Violence against women during the times of Covid-19

The recent outbreak of Corona virus has increased challenges of all mankind, irrespective of their nationality and gender. Even the developed countries had to suffer immensely during the period of Covid-19. Obviously, the developing countries like Pakistan had to suffer comparatively more. Safety of women in Pakistan was already a questionable topic.

However, this outbreak put further question marks on it. Time proved that it is again the women of Pakistan who have to suffer more during these challenging times. Various reports by human rights organizations also revealed that women were subjected to more violence during the times of virus and lockdown.

On one hand, it was the frustration created by lockdown and lack of outdoor engagements that led to the violence against women. Women had to face various sorts of violence including emotional, verbal and physical violence. However, on the other hand, the lockdown increased responsibilities of women to a huge extent.

They were supposed to look after all members of the family around the clock without any consideration and appreciation. The working ladies had to manage office as well as home which increased their workload. They had to work – from – home as well as manage kitchen and other household chores full – time.

Annual report by HRCP

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has released its annual report titled ‘State of Human Rights in Pakistan’ for the year 2020. The report raised huge concerns regarding safety of women in Pakistan.  The report clearly stated that World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Pakistan at 151 out of 153 on the global gender gap index.

The research also noted that the cases of women harassment and violence including sexual violence has increased considerably during times of Covid-19. Furthermore, it mentioned that Pakistan witnessed 430 cases of honor killing during the year 2020. This figure included 363 female victims while 148 victims were male.

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Recent incidents of sexual harassment and violence against women in Pakistan

Unfortunately, the incidents of harassment, violence, rape and murders of females in Pakistan have increased significantly in the recent year. Every now and then a news breaks to reveal a tragic news highlighting the plight of safety of women in Pakistan. It includes incidents of harassment, rape and murder. The cases mentioned below are some of the many cases which took place in the recent months. Nevertheless, a huge number of cases go unreported.

  1. Minar-i-Pakistan assault case – Ayesha Akram: This shocking incident of harassment took place at Minar-i-Pakistan, now known as Greater Iqbal Park Lahore on 14 August 2021 when a female tiktoker visited the park in order to celebrate and share the joy of Independence Day of Pakistan with her fans. The woman was harassed by 400 men (figure is not actually confirmed by any source) for 2.5 hours.

The incident imposed serious concerns on the security of women in Pakistan visiting public places. The incident did not get highlighted quickly however, once it came in news, the facts enraged anger among people and initiated discussion on the subject. Social media also played a substantial role in the distribution of news.

In the wake of this tragic incident, the Lahore police operations deputy inspector general (DIG), the senior superintendent of police (SSP) and a divisional superintendent of police (SP) along with two other officers has been removed from their positions. The investigating team has also arrested 66 individuals allegedly involved in the assault of the tiktoker.

  • Incident of harassment in rickshaw on Independence Day: This incident took place the same day when tiktoker Ayesha Akram was sexually harassed in Greater Iqbal Park for 2.5 hours. The video of the incident got viral on social media. The video shows that two females were sitting in a Qingqi rickshaw along with a minor boy.

The rickshaw was stucked in traffic jam. A man, out of nowhere, jumped into the rickshaw, kissed one of the girls and left. No one from the traffic jam tried to stop and question the boy that why he did so. They were rather busy in making videos of the incident.

  • Noor Mukadam Murder Case: In Noor Mukadam’s murder case, Pakistani nation witnessed one of the most inhumane crimes in the history of Pakistan. Noor Mukadam was 27-year-old daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat who was raped and slaughtered by her friend Zahir Jaffer. Now, a case has been registered against Jaffer under Section 302 (punishment for murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code at Kohsar Police Station, Islamabad.

The murder of Noor Mukadam initiated a heated debate on social media. The friends and human rights activists ran powerful campaigns utilizing social media to ensure that the accused get caught by the police and the case is taken seriously. The details of this unfortunate incident revealed that Mukadam had asked for help from the staff at Jaffer’s home. The neighbors were also aware that something is not right in the house. However, no one dared to help her directly or indirectly.

  • Five rape cases in 24 hours: During the month of August, five incidents of rape have been reported in Lahore during the span of 24 hours only. The incidents took place in different areas of the city. In the area of Johar Town, a 16-year-old young girl was raped by her step – father. In a different incident, a mother of four children was raped in the area of Bhagatpura.

Similarly, a ten-year-old girl was raped by unknown persons in Manawan. On the other hand, a 17-year-old young girl was raped after being promised a job. The police from Nawankot area Lahore arrested a 15 year old boy accused of raping a seven year old female child.

  • Motorway Rape Case: It was one of the most shocking rape cases for the Pakistani nation. A woman travelling through motorway was raped by two men in front of her two children. According to the reports, her car ran out of fuel and she was waiting for some help when this tragic incident took place.

Although the identity of victim was not revealed but the case received huge hype on social media and legacy media. Luckily, as the case against the accused proceeded, they received death sentence from the court.

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The Stance of females against such cases

The increasing number of cases related to sexual violence is one thing. However, another major point of concern is the mindset of our nation. In almost 99.99% cases of sexual violence, victim blaming has been witnessed. Not only men, but the women also start blaming the female victim. They are blamed for their choice of timing for moving out of home or travelling and dressing etc. The morals and character of victim is also questioned. Unfortunately, no one neither questions the mindsets nor the increasing frustration among men.

The stance of Ulema regarding such incidents

Pakistan is an Islamic country. Hence, the words and actions of religious leaders of different religions and sects hold a lot of significance in monitoring safety of women in Pakistan. Owing to the recent advancements in the cases of sexual violence against women, Muslim religious leadership has now demanded that the rapists should be hanged till death.

They also demanded that the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan should take immediate actions against those who violate laws in this way and ensure speedy trials. The religious leadership is also of the view that PEMRA, PTA and Ministry of Information should block all porn websites in the country so that the youth cannot access such content.


These cases of sexual violence and harassment against women, mentioned in this report, are only a few but there are hundreds of other such cases which are not mentioned here. The condition regarding safety of women in Pakistan has deteriorated over the period of time. The rise in cases of sexual violence against females have raised concerns among women regarding their security in Pakistan. The recent statistics shared by Federal Ministry of Human Rights have highlighted that the condition of women rights in the country has fallen significantly.

The major affected provinces are Sindh and Punjab. As per the data provided by Ministry of Human Rights, the province of Punjab constitutes upto 73% of the total cases of sexual violence in Pakistan. It is so unfortunate to find out that the officials working in the area of northern Sindh and southern Punjab has termed these areas as ‘hell’ for the women of Pakistan.

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