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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 11 Feb 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Balochistan: Victimization of Women in the Name of Customs, Traditions

A report compiled by Javaria Tareen on very poor condition of women in Balochistan

No society is complete without woman whether she is mother, daughter, sister, wife or any other relative to a man. Islam has given women a special respect but unfortunately, in tribal and rural societies, they are being victimized in the name of customs and traditions. It is a reality that women are being subjugated of violence in many parts of the country like was adopted with them in era of ignorance.

Karo-kari, Wanni and Watta Satta are tyranny and inhuman customs. Women are being subjugated of rape, gang rape, domestic violence, forced labor and other atrocities in such societies. These cruelties on women are not only violation of Islamic teachings and principles of justice but have also become a major hurdle in economic growth of the country.

It is noted that women are not only facing torture in rural areas but also in urban populated areas. No rule of law in the society had created a lot of problems for women. When I studied reports on violence on women compiled by human rights

organizations and registration of cases with police against such violence, I wondered how women were being treated in a merciless way.

I called on Inspector General Police Balochistan Malik Iqbal, representatives of non-governmental organizations working on women rights and other stakeholders who provided me data on violence on women during 2010. I was informed that 144 incidents of torture on women were reported in Balochistan in 2010, and 22 of Karo-Kari, 32 of rape, 2 of acid throwing and 87 of domestic violence and harassment.

About 46 incidents of violence on women were reported in Quetta, the metropolis of Balochistan, 38 in Jaffarabad and 21 in Nasirabad. Senior police officials told me that less number of incidents of violence on women was registered with police in 2010 than 2009 as 100-year old Levies Force system was restored by the provincial government in 2010. They indicated some flaws in Levies Force system as it lacks

of proper arrangement to keep figures and record on violence on women. They further told that 149 incidents of torture on women were reported in 2009, and 22 of Karo-Kari while 50 women were murdered in the name of Karo-Kari during that year.

During my research, I found out that most of incidents of violence on women took place in Eastern Balochistan’s districts of Jaffarabad and Nasirabad. Aurat Foundation’s officials told me that total 79 incidents of violence on women were reported in Balochistan in 2010 in comparison with 237 such incidents in 2009.

They viewed that raging and worst ever floods that wreaked havoc in Nasirabad and Jaffarabad districts displaced hundreds of thousands of families in 2010 and as a result, less number of incidents of violence on women were reported.

During 2010, about eight women were murdered in the name of honor in Nasirabad and Jaffarabad districts, six in Bolan and four in Jhal Magsi districts while total 36 women were killed in violence. The killers of these ill-fated women included father, brother, husband and close relatives. Sixteen women were killed in other incidents

including four in Quetta city. Two incidents of domestic violence on women were reported in Bolan, and one each in Quetta and Jaffarabad.

Seven desperate women committed suicide in 2010 including two in Quetta and Nasirabad districts respectively, and one each in Jhal Magsi, Zhob and Nushki districts. Incident of kidnapping a woman was reported in Sibi district in 2010

and six incidents of rape and gang rape were reported including three from Jaffarabad district and one each from Quetta, Zhob and Khuzdar districts. One woman was set on fire in Jhal Magsi district and two were murdered in Nasirabad district. It was first time in 2010 that acid was hurled on women in Balochistan. Two women in Kalat district and two in Chagai district became victims of acid throwing.

Unknown heartless men threw acid on two orphan and real sisters in Killi Hashim of Tehsil Dalbandin in Chagai district in April 2010 when they came out of their home to purchase some domestic items from nearby shop. After three weeks, another acid throwing incident occurred in Kalat district, in which unidentified men riding on bike hurled acid on three girls identified as Saima, 08, Shakila, 14, and

Fatima, 20.

All these victim girls received burn injuries in their face and body. It is pertinent to mention here that a banned organization claimed for responsibility of throwing acid on these girls, warning other women that they would have to face such ruthless attacks if they come out of their homes without their any relative. Although, the government took notice of the cruelty but no accused of the heinous crime was arrested so far while the incident created a panic amongst women.

A six-year-old little girl was victimized of gang rape in Quetta on June 30, 2010.

During my meeting with IGP Balochistan Malik Iqbal to get details on violence on women, he was of the opinion that due to low literacy rate and lack of awareness, incidents of violence on women took place in Balochistan. He further said tribal tradition of keeping women indoors was also an obstacle in access of women to courts and resultantly, they were forced to suffer atrocities on them.

He said Britain rulers in the region used police for their power that caused a ‘distance’ between police and masses.

Replying to my query, he said there was no women police station in Balochistan while the provincial police also lacked of women personnel. He, however, said a women police station and special cell for women will be established in Quetta city. He recalled that every district of Punjab province had lady police personnel adding that women were also being encouraged in Balochistan to join police department. The Balochistan Police chief emphasized the need that victim women should be provided legal aid by both government and NGOs. In answer to my another question, he said Balochistan Police had jurisdiction in limited area of the province as other regions had gone under control of Levies Force from April 2010. He observed that Levies Force usually deal with violence on women following the tribal customs and traditions.