Violence against women and State Laws
With every passing day, news feed of Pakistan is accomplished with one, two or more violence based stories, being multiplied every coming year. Standing on the third worst position in terms of women protection, Pakistan is presenting a worst picture. Looking upon every next case whereby women suffer, it seems that we are still living in the era of backwardness and callowness coupled with absurdity. Although, state is the guardian of every individual, who has no guardian, yet the roles and responsibilities are not being fulfilled congruously by the state.
The question arises; where the state laws stand to protect women and empower them? Although constitution provides equal rights to every citizen (Article 25 (1) and (2)), are these rights being equally granted in real life scenario too? Recent incident of Asma Aziz and more is true picture that the things are still going worst as they were before.
Not much improvement has been done in reality. Multiple cases are being filed on daily basis in the back drop of domestic violence, sexual abuse, honor killing, psychological abuse, acid throwing, forced marriages, sexual harassment and human trafficking. In fact, many sufferers are not even given a chance to speak out. Whether it’s so called elite class or poverty-stricken lower ones, violence against women is equally common.
Women are treated as a second class citizen in society. Women rights are human rights, and crimes against women are crimes against humanity. But who can edify these men that women are created form the rib of man. They need to be equally respected as men. Of course, The State. State has to play its pivotal role in order to protect women. Although Article 25, 34(ensures full participation of women in all spheres of national life) and 18th Amendment (giving more power to women) of Constitution of Pakistan is a ray of hope, but only if it is implemented in letter and spirit.
In addition to the protection granted by constitution, National laws for the Protection of women are also there. The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act, 2011 codifies about the perpetrators of acid crimes. Under section 336-B of Pakistan Penal code, punishment for offenders can extend up to life imprisonment, along with a fine, which may not be less than five hundred thousand rupees. Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Act, 2011 prohibits several oppressive and discriminatory customs practiced towards women. Punishment for offenders under section 310-A may vary from 3 to 7 years imprisonment along with five hundred thousand rupees fine. Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offense of Rape) Act 2016 provide a quite package of women being victim of different rape cases. Sections 376, 376A, 53A, 154, 161A, 164A and 164B have been added mainly taking into account rape, gang rape and rape of minors. Pornography and other illegal practices are being checked out under this law. Any Public servants (e.g. police) who fail to carry out investigation properly will be punished with imprisonment of 3 years or fine or both. Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offences in the name or pretext of Honor) Act, 2016 justifies about the concept of honor killing. According to this law murder committed on the basis of honor is punishable with death or life imprisonment. Moreover, for murder committed in the name of honor, even if the accused is pardoned by the Wali or other family members of the victim, the Court will still punish the accused with imprisonment for life. Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 is mainly for the protection of cyber-crimes. Any accused may be imprisoned for 5 to 7 years along with fine of five hundred thousand rupees.
Above mentioned and couple of more laws do exist to protect women but despite having so many protection notes, why women of Pakistan is still being subjected as a victim of brutality. In many cases women are unaware of their basic rights and in other cases they don’t want to get exposed in the name of gender based violence and remaining cases becomes the prey of ignorance either by society or by state. Resultantly, daughter of Hawa will continue will same agony as ere.
Need of the time is to sense the severity of situation. How women is being treated in 21st century, and how she should be treated, is point to ponder upon. National laws should be implement in true spirit so that before taking any cruel step, one must be aware of trounce that he is going to experience. In addition, women must also know how to protect their selves from this atrocity and ferocity. Almost half of the country’s population comprises of women, as they are the most untapped reservoirs of the talent. So state should focus on their protection that will rightly follow a path towards women empowerment. Still all is not lost, hope is yet there to look for a change in patriarchal society.