Rape in Pakistan

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Rape in Pakistan came to international attention after the politically sanctioned rape of Mukhtaran Bibi.[1][2] The group War Against Rape (WAR) has documented the severity of rape in Pakistan, and the police indifference to it.[3] According to Women's Studies professor Shahla Haeri, rape in Pakistan is "often institutionalized and has the tacit and at times the explicit approval of the state".[4] According to a study carried out by Human Rights Watch there is a rape once every two hours[5] and a gang rape every eight.[6] According to lawyer Asma Jahangir, who is a co-founder of the women's rights group Women's Action Forum, up to seventy-two percent of women in custody in Pakistan are physically or sexually abused.[7]

Magnitude of the problem[edit]

The group War Against Rape (WAR) has documented the severity of the rape problem in Pakistan and of police indifference to it.[8] WAR is an NGO whose mission is to publicize the problem of rape in Pakistan; in a report released in 1992, of 60 reported cases of rape, 20% involved police officers. In 2008 the group claimed that several of its members were assaulted by a religious group as they tried to help a woman who had been gang raped identify her assailants.[9]

According to Women's Studies professor Shahla Haeri, rape in Pakistan is "often institutionalized and has the tacit and at times the explicit approval of the state".[4] According to a study by Human Rights Watch, there is a rape once every two hours[5] and a gang rape every eight.[6] Asma Jahangir, a lawyer and co-founder of the women's rights group Women's Action Forum, reported in a 1988 study of female detainees in Punjab that around 72 percent of them stated they had been sexually abused while in custody.[10]

Child sexual abuse[edit]

In a study of child sexual abuse in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, out of a sample of 300 children 17% claimed to have been abused and in 1997 one child a day was reported as raped, gang raped or kidnapped for sexual gratification.[11]

The legal system[edit]

Honor killings, burnings, and rapes in Pakistan can be seen as indicating inadequate legal protection for women.[12] In 1979 Pakistan passed into law the Hudood Ordinance, which made all forms of extra-marital sex, including rape, a crime against the state.[13] During the time the Hudood Ordinance remained on the statute books, Human Rights Watch documented extensive sexual abuse against female bonded laborers.[8]

Attitudes[edit]

Rape in Pakistan came to international attention after Mukhtaran Bibi (Mukhtār Mā'ī), the victim of a politically sanctioned gang rape, charged her attackers with rape and spoke out about her experiences.[1][14] She was then denied the right to leave the country. The matter of her refused visit to the US was raised in an interview by the Washington Post with the then President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, who claimed to champion "Moderate Islam" that "respect the rights of women," and complained that his country is "unfairly portrayed as a place where rape and other violence against women are rampant and frequently condoned".[15]

Musharraf responded that he had relented over the matter of Mukhtaran Bibi leaving the country, and stated: “You must understand the environment in Pakistan. This has become a money-making concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”[15] This statement provoked an uproar, and Musharraf responded by claiming that he had never made the statement; however, the Washington Post had recorded it.[15]

The statement was made in the light of the fact that another rape victim, Dr Shazia Khalid, had left Pakistan, was living in Canada, and had spoken out against official attitudes to rape in Pakistan. He said of her: “It is the easiest way of doing it. Every second person now wants to come up and get all the [pause] because there is so much of finances. Dr. Shazia, I don't know. But maybe she's a case of money (too), that she wants to make money. She is again talking all against Pakistan, against whatever we've done. But I know what the realities are.”[16]

On May 29, 2013, the Council of Islamic Ideology, a constitutional body responsible for giving legal advice on Islamic issues to the Government of Pakistan and the Parliament, declared that DNA tests are not admissible as the main evidence in rape cases. A spokesman for the council said that DNA evidence could, at best, serve as supplementary evidence but could not supersede the Islamic laws laid out for determining rape complaints.[17]

Notable cases[edit]

Since 2000, various women and teenage girls have begun to speak out after being sexually assaulted. Going against the tradition that a woman should suffer in silence, they have lobbied news outlets and politicians.[18] A recent report from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated that in 2009, 46 percent of unlawful female killings in Pakistan were "honor killings".[19]

  • In 2002, 30-year-old Mukhtaran Bibi was gang raped on the orders of the village council as an "honor rape" after allegations that her 12-year-old brother had had sexual relations with a woman from a higher caste.[20] Although custom would expect her to commit suicide after being raped,[21][22][23] Mukhtaran spoke up, and pursued the case, which was picked up by both domestic and international media. On 1 September 2002, an anti-terrorism court sentenced 6 men (including the 4 rapists) to death for rape. In 2005, the Lahore High Court cited "insufficient evidence" and acquitted 5 of the 6 convicted, and commuted the punishment for the sixth man to a life sentence. Mukhtaran and the government appealed this decision, and the Supreme Court suspended the acquittal and held appeal hearings.[24] In 2011, the Supreme Court too acquitted the accused.
  • In 2005 a woman claimed to have been gang raped by four police officers for refusing to pay them a bribe so her husband would be released from prison. One officer was arrested and three have disappeared.
  • A 23-year-old woman in Faisalabad made public accusations against the police, saying her husband had been arrested for creating forged documents; she alleges she was raped on the orders of the chief of police for her actions. The officer was suspended but not arrested.[14]
  • Kainat Soomro was a 13-year-old schoolgirl when she was kidnapped and gang raped for four days. Her protest has led to the murder of her brother, a death sentence from the elders of her village, and threats from the rapists, who after four years still remain at large.[25]
  • In 2012 three members of the Border Police were remanded into custody for raping five women aged between fifteen and twenty-one. The women claim they were taken from a picnic area to the police station in Dera Ghazi Khan, where the police filmed themselves sexually assaulting the women.[26]
  • In the 2014 Layyah rape murder incident, on 19 June 2014, a 21-year-old woman was gang raped and murdered in Layyah district, Punjab province of Pakistan.[27][28]

Historical accounts[edit]

During the Bangladesh Liberation War, it is estimated that between 200,000[29] and 400,000[30] women and girls were sexually assaulted by the Pakistan armed forces and the Al-Badr ("the moon") and the Al-Shams ("the sun") militias that supported them.[31][32]

During the partition of India rape was a frequent occurrence with rapists using slogans like Hindustan Zindabad and Pakistan Zindabad which were tattooed on the bodies of women who were raped during the partition.[33]

See also[edit]

Regional:

General:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Laird, Kathleen Fenner (2008). Whose Islam? Pakistani Women's Political Action Groups Speak Out. Proquest. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-549-46556-0. 
  2. ^ Khan, Aamer Ahmed (8 September 2005). "Pakistan's real problem with rape". BBC. 
  3. ^ Karim, Farhad (1996). Contemporary Forms of Slavery in Pakistan. Human Rights Watch. p. 72. ISBN 978-1564321541. 
  4. ^ a b Haeri, Shahla (2002). No Shame for the Sun: Lives of Professional Pakistani Women (1st ed.). Syracuse University Press. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-8156-2960-3. 
  5. ^ a b Gosselin, Denise Kindschi (2009). Heavy Hands: An Introduction to the Crime of Intimate and Family Violence (4th ed.). Prentice Hall. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-13-613903-4. 
  6. ^ a b Foerstel, Karen (2009). Issues in Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class: Selections. Sage. p. 337. ISBN 978-1-4129-7967-2. 
  7. ^ Goodwin, Jan (2002). Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World. Plume. p. 51. ISBN 978-0452283770. 
  8. ^ a b Karim, Farhad (1996). Contemporary Forms of Slavery in Pakistan. Human Rights Watch. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-56432-154-1. 
  9. ^ Report, Staff (20 March 2008). "Rape case muddied by claims of 3 parties". Daily Times. 
  10. ^ Jahangir, Asma; Jilani, Hina (1990). The Hudood Ordinances: A Divine Sanction?. Lahore: Rhotas Books. p. 137. ; cited in Human Rights Watch (1992). "Double Jeopardy: Police Abuse of Women in Pakistan". p. 26. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Rasheed, Shaireen (2004). Jyotsna Pattnaik, ed. Childhood In South Asia: A Critical Look At Issues, Policies, And Programs. Information Age. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-59311-020-8. 
  12. ^ Datta, Rekha (2010). Beyond Realism: Human Security in India and Pakistan in the Twenty-First Century. Lexington. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-7391-2155-9. 
  13. ^ Ross, Mary P.; Lori Heise; Nancy Felipe Russo (1997). Laura L. O'Toole, Jessica R. Schiffman, ed. Gender Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. New York University Press. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-8147-8041-1. 
  14. ^ a b Khan, Aamer Ahmed (8 September 2005). "Pakistan's real problem with rape". BBC. 
  15. ^ a b c "Musharraf is 'Silly and Stupid' says Washington Post". South Asia Tribune. Retrieved 25 July 2012. [unreliable source?]
  16. ^ Amir, Ayaz (26 September 2005). "Blundering Musharraf begins to lose his balance". South Asia Tribune. Retrieved 25 July 2012. [unreliable source?]
  17. ^ "Rape cases: DNA tests not admissible as main evidence says CII". tribune.com.pk. May 30, 2013. 
  18. ^ Afsaruddin, Asma (2000). Hermeneutics and Honor: Negotiating Female Public Space in Islamic/Ate Societies. Harvard University Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-932885-21-0. 
  19. ^ Nosheen, Habiba; Schellmann, Hilke (28 September 2011). "Refusing to Kill Daughter, Pakistani Family Defies Tradition, Draws Anger". The Atlantic. 
  20. ^ Greenberg, Jerrold S.; Clint E. Bruess; Sarah C. Conklin (10 March 2010). "Marital Rape". Exploring the Dimensions of Human Sexuality (4th revised ed.). Jones and Bartlett. ISBN 978-0-7637-7660-2. 
  21. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (29 September 2004). "Sentenced to Be Raped". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  22. ^ Masood, Salman (17 March 2009). "Pakistani Woman Who Shattered Stigma of Rape Is Married". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  23. ^ "Pakistani rape survivor turned education crusader honoured at UN". UN News Centre. United Nations. 2 May 2006. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "Pakistan rape acquittals rejected". BBC News. 28 June 2005. 
  25. ^ Crilly, Rob (26 December 2010). "Pakistan's rape victim who dared to fight back". The Telegraph. 
  26. ^ "Pakistan policemen accused of drunken rape". New Zealand Herald. AFP. 22 June 2012. 
  27. ^ "Pakistan woman raped and hanged from tree". The Times of India. AFP. 21 June 2014. 
  28. ^ Robinson, Belinda (21 June 2014, updated 22 June 2014). "Pakistani woman, 20, is gang-raped, killed and hanged from a tree in chilling echo of attack on two young cousins in India". Daily Mail. 
  29. ^ Saikia, Yasmin (2011). Heineman, Elizabeth D., ed. Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones: From the Ancient World to the Era of Human Rights. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-8122-4318-5. 
  30. ^ Riedel, Bruce O. (2011). Deadly embrace: Pakistan, America, and the future of the global jihad. Brookings Institution. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-8157-0557-4. 
  31. ^ Schmid, Alex (2011). The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research. Routledge. p. 600. ISBN 978-0-415-41157-8. 
  32. ^ Tomsen, Peter (2011). Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers. Public Affairs. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-58648-763-8. 
  33. ^ Menon, Ritu; Bhasin, Kamla (1998). Borders & Boundaries: Women in India's Partition. Rutgers University Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8135-2552-5.