The Story of Kainat Soomro

Outlawed-in-Pakistan

In 2007, Kainat Soomroo says she was walking home from school in her hometown of Mehar, Sindh. She went into a store to buy a toy for her niece. While looking around in the store, someone covered her mouth with a handkerchief. She fainted.

Kainat claims she was kidnapped and raped by four men over the next three days. After the third day, she escaped back to her family. Her father tried in vain to report the matter to the police. She was declared an outcaste by the local jirga (council). Her family was told to redeem its honour by killing her.

Instead, her parents defied the jirga and fled with Kainat and the rest of the family to Karachi . There they enlisted the help of a lawyer and of the NGO-group War Against Rape (W.A.R) who helped them bring the four men to trial.

The men were acquitted however as there was no evidence corroborating Kainat’s oral testimony. A month later, Kainat’s brother was murdered by unknown assailants. One of the accused rapists, Ahsan Thebo, claims also that Kainat married him during her captivity, though some suspect this was a tactic to avoid criminal responsibility since marital rape is not a crime in Pakistan.

Kainat and her family now live in poverty in Karachi and have suffered repeated threats on their lives including Thebo’s threat to take Kainat back or kill her. Yet Kainat remains undeterred:  “I want justice, I will not stop until I get justice.”

Her case is currently under appeal.

Written by Randeep Purewall.

http://www.war.org.pk/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/pressroom/press-release-outlawed-in-pakistan/

Crimes against women increase by 7% in a year in Pakistan

Anti-women crimes between May 2011 and May 2012
Rape cases up 29%
Punjab reported a 17% increase
Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) had an increase of 15%
Sindh registered a 35% decline
Balochistan had three cases reported in May 2012 as compared to two recorded last year, but that is because of non-reporting

A report based on FIRs registered by police in 57 districts monitored by FAFEN in May 2010, 2011 and 2012

ISLAMABAD, August 30: Crimes against women increased 7% this year as 57 districts reported 982 cases in May 2012 compared to 922 in the same month last year. However, over the last two years, an increase of 31% was reported in such crimes with 746 FIRs lodged in May 2010, says a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report.

Released Thursday, the report said it could not be ascertained if this increase was due to occurrence of more crimes or enhanced reportage in certain parts of the country, or both.

The report is based on data collected from District Police Offices (DPOs) in May 2010, 2011 and 2012 on FIRs registered for six categories of crimes against women in 57 districts.

The crime categories include honour killing, forced marriage, offences relating to marriage, rape, attack on modesty and insult of modesty through word, gesture or act.

Twenty one of the monitored districts were in Punjab, 16 in Sindh, 15 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), four in Balochistan and one in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Punjab reported a 17% increase in FIRs for anti-women crimes between May 2011 and May 2012. Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) had an increase of 15% but Sindh registered a 35% decline. In Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), where nine cases were filed for crimes against women in 2011, the number of FIRs increased to 24 this year. Balochistan had three cases reported in May 2012 as compared to two recorded last year.

Among the monitored crimes, cases of honour killings and offences relating to marriage and the number of reporting districts increased.

In 2012, 31 cases of honour killings were reported in 15 districts as compared to 24 in 11 districts last year. Faisalabad with five cases was the highest reporting district in May this year. Similarly, as the number of reporting districts increased from nine to 11, FIRs filed for offences relating to marriage also went up – 131 this year compared to 112 in May 2011.

Although the districts reporting cases of attack on modesty this year remained the same (29), the number of FIRs filed increased by 36%. Except for Punjab, all other regions registered a decline in the number of reported cases. Lahore was the highest reporting district in 2011 and 2012 – the number of cases there increasing from 32 to 92.

The cases of word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman increased from seven to 10 while the number of reporting districts remained the same – two each in 2011 and 2012.

The number of districts reporting rape decreased in 2012 as compared to the preceding year. It was still the most widespread crime. As many as 186 rape cases were reported in 31 districts this year as compared to 163 in 32 districts in 2011. Lahore had the highest of 40 cases in 2012 while Faisalabad (28) was the top reporting district in 2011.

On the other hand, the cases and number of districts reporting forced marriages came down over the year. Despite a decrease from previous year, the number of cases filed for forced marriages was the highest among all the reported anti-women crimes. As many as 341 cases were reported in 27 districts in May this year.

Among regions, cases of forced marriages decreased in Punjab and Sindh. However, a significant increase of 66% was registered in ICT where 24 cases were reported in May 2012 as compared to last year’s nine. KP and Balochistan also observed an increase.

Statistics show that Lahore (134) recorded the highest numbers of anti-women offences in 2012, followed by Faisalabad (110) and Multan (105).

PDF version of FAFEN Report

Information provided by Jalal Khan
jalal.khan@fafen.org
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‘Loose Character’ Reason Enough to Take Women’s Lives!

Religious fanatics have successfully ‘cleansed’ the world yet again by killing two women of ‘loose character’ in the NWFP in Pakistan. Ali Hazrat Bacha writes:
‘PESHAWAR, Aug 20: In the first incident of its kind in and around the provincial capital, bullet-riddled bodies of two women, who had been kidnapped from a village in Charsadda district a few days ago, were found in Guli Garhi village near here on Wednesday.
‘A note found near bodies described the victims as women of ‘loose character’ and said they had been killed because they had not heeded the warning of ‘Jaish-i-Islami’ to ‘mend their ways’.’
CMKP Digest Number 1583

Violence against women in Pakistan is rising as always, and now, the exponents of deified male supremacy, the false-morality-ridden religious bullies, are issuing public threats to women not just in the NWFP where Taliban are in strength but in the Punjab as well. And sure, ‘loose character’ is good reason to kill a woman; it does not even cost much in Qisas as the killers will only have to pay half of what they would pay to kill a man. And that is, IF brought to justice.

At the end of last month, the Acid TIP (Tehreek-e-Islami Taliban Pakistan) threatened to ‘Throw Acid on Women Not Wearing Hijab’ . Still I think, the Taliban may use further Saudi guidance in this area as the bastion of their ‘spirituality’ is way ahead with a father killing his daughter ‘for chatting on Facebook’ .

Earlier this month, ‘Militants threw acid on two Muslim women for not wearing veils and for putting make-up on their faces’ in Srinagar Kashmir. The women were high school teachers. The same report also mentions two other women who had ‘faced similar treatment in Kaksarai recently’. www.hinduonnet.com.

Ansar Burney Trust, a human rights organization, finds that ‘in the vast majority of cases’ of women dying as a result of ‘domestic violence’, a term commonly still used in Pakistan for ‘woman assault’, were killed or mutilated by their husbands and in-laws, brothers and fathers, ex-husbands and ex-lovers. Regarding sexual violence, the Trust estimates that ‘as many as eight women – half of them minors – are raped in Pakistan everyday’. Reasons for rape: revenge on the woman or her family; Jirga/Punchayat ordered rape for her crimes or her family’s; and, by the police while in their custody. On average, ‘a woman suffers an acid attack every week in Pakistan’ www.ansarburney.org.

Last year a woman Minister was ‘Shot Dead for Refusing to Wear Veil’. ‘Pakistani tells how he killed 4 daughters’. ‘Danish-Pakistani woman killed in honor murder’ for having a ‘bad character’.

Amnesty, Asia Pacific: ‘Women and girls are dying at the hands of their husbands, their fathers and brothers, while the authorities pay lip service to their obligations to protect them’.

And that is why it is so hard to fight, even resist, the religious fanatics because they are safeguarding the ‘interests’ of all men by providing them with a strong moral-religious ground to ‘control’ what is being perceived as ‘their women’.

We are our own women.
We will determine
our ‘characters’,
values, education, dresses,
makeup, and
the size of our boobs;
We will select our partners,
careers, videos, cds,
miniskirts, and
shoes;
We will fight,
and get back the right
to live as we like;
To be who we are: Beautiful,
Graceful, Creative, and
Content.

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
frafique@gmail.com

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Punjab Police Officials Detain, Rape and Torture A Minor in Pakistan

Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reports that a 17-year-old girl was abducted by police officials in Faisalabad, who ‘kept’ her for 16 days in ‘private custody’ to extract a murder confession. During that time, her elder sister was also brought into that personal ‘police lockup’ and held naked for three days ‘to pressure the sister to confess to the charges.’

‘On March 14, 2008, one Mr. Faisal son of Sakhawat attacked the house of Mr. Imran, son of Khalid Iqbal. During the exchange of fire Imran was shot and died on the spot. The deceased was the fiancee of victim and on the pursuance of the father the victim was arrested and suffered humiliation, abuse and rape to confess the murder of her own fiancee.’

In other words, two young men had a shooting match, probably over a woman, in which one of them died; the local police responded by arresting the fiance of the dead young man on suspicions of murder; and in order to extract a confession, ran a 16-day torture and sexual abuse campaign that involved everything in the book, and all that was not in it. For sure, Guantanamo Bay prison officials may have some rules to follow and someone to answer to but a private prison run by a Punjab police officer in rural or urban Punjab may not have either.

Labourer Manzoor Ahmad, father of the two victims/survivors, after many unsuccessful attempts to contact ‘higher police officials’ to register a case against the perpetrators, ‘filed an application on July 01, 2008, in the court of Mr. Nadeem Gulzar, the additional session judge, who ordered the police station of Nishatabad to register the case of rape in custody, illegal detention, torture and keeping naked in lockup. However, the district police refused to follow the orders of the session judge. On July 18, the police station filed the case against SI Investigations, Shujat Malhi, under section 376 of criminal procedural code (rape) but not on the other charges which were ordered by the session judge. Until now no one has been arrested and all the perpetrators continue in their duties as usual.’

The AHRC report also cites an earlier case involving the same SI Iinvestigations Shujat Malhi, where when a 21-year-old woman of Jaranwala District was raped by two persons who were arrested but this officer took bribes and then released them. It may sound ironic but he did first ask the woman survivor for the money but was refused.

Raise your voice against this ongoing aggression against women by Punjab Police officers:
Send An Appeal Letter

These are not isolated cases. View the Uddari Report on human rights violations in pakistan prepared from the last ten years of ‘Urgent Appeals’ section at AHCR. Countless instances of sexual violence against women in the Punjab are carried out by influential men of an area against the women, children and men of less privileged groups. The power-hungry men who try to disgrace women enjoy privileges that are economic, political, racial, religious and gender-based. These are local landholders, industrialist, religious leaders, government officials, police and army personnel. The ‘less-privileged’ groups include women, racial and religious minority communities, peasants, labourers, the homeless, and human rights and democracy activists.

Most acts of violence committed against women as individuals are being committed by influential men against women who are living in poverty in rural and urban Punjab; and, most crimes committed against women as a population group are committed by religiously-charged men of privileged and non-privileged groups who believe that it is their duty to gain control over womens’ sexuality by forcing them to follow a certain belief system. The truth is, I fail to find a notion more vulgar than this though forwarding the story of Adam and Eve as a serious creation theory comes close.

The AHRC suggests to send letters to Punjab authorities to take action against the police officials of Faisalabad; to urge the authorities to provide protection to women; and, to pay compensation to the victims. Sample letter is online at the AHRC Website, click below:
Send An Appeal Letter

Information pointed to by Baseer Naveed of Asian Human Rights Commission baseer@ahrchk.org at [cmkp] Digest Number 1554

‘Sexual abuse of children by aid workers and UN peacekeepers’?

A children’s rights organization has released a research report pointing to cases of child sexual abuse by aid workers and UN peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, Southern Sudan and Haiti, and how most remain unreported.

Save the Children UK research titled ‘No One to Turn To’ (The under-reporting of child sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers and peacekeepers, Tuesday 27 May 2008) suggests that the perpetrators can be found in ‘every type of humanitarian, peace and security organisation, at every grade of staff, and among both locally recruited and international staff’. The children interviewed report many types of abuse ‘including trading food for sex, rape, child prostitution, pornography, indecent sexual assault and trafficking of children for sex’.

Save the Children UK has made the following recommendations to the UN Task Force on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse. An effective local complaints mechanisms to be set up by the UN in countries where there is a significant international presence; The establishment of a new global watchdog to monitor and evaluate the efforts of international agencies regarding this issue; An increased investment in tackling the underlying causes of sexual abuse, for example support for legal reforms, public education and awareness raising, and the development of national child protection systems. (Source: www.alertnet.org)

This heart-clenching report involves the most vulnerable young persons growing up in some of the most threatening situations of war, hunger, poverty, homelessness and violence. We, as adults are sending them help that includes such aggregated threats as sexual abuse. It is as if what was happening with our young on the ground was not enough to pervert them away from life.

Though the research references three countries, the universality of its findings is implied. View it here in English and French.

It is hard to stay away from the thoughts of children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Darfur, Tibet and other areas where populations are at war; in Sichuan province of China, and areas hit by earthquakes and other calamities; in short, in situations of acute vulnerability and need.

As well, we must remind ourselves of sexual, emotional and physical abuse suffered by children growing up in oppressive family and social structure in Pakistan, Iran and many countries under Muslim Laws; of children living in the so-called ‘Polygamy Compounds’, ‘Reservations’ and ‘Ghettoes’ within advanced democratic societies such as the United States and Canada.

And a word of caution perhaps, that the most sexual, physical and emotional abuse suffered by our children may not come from aid workers and UN peacekeepers but from individuals in our own families, communities, schools, religious institutions and other social and economic structures.

I support the recommendations of Save the Children UK to increase vigilance over our children worldwide, to create situation to afford more power and voice to our children within their countries, and to assure that we don’t send wolves to take care of lambs from our privileged overseas human rights positions.

Here is an unexpected Punjabi poem titled Dil ‘Heart’:
Dil
Fauzia Rafiq

Uthan behn, jagan sawn
Likhan likhan, paRhan paRhan
Rinnan pinnan, khawan pewan
Ishq muhabtaN
Duftar rozi, mail mulqataN
Eh sarae kam
main Thehr ke kraN gi
dil hali Thaleya nahiN

More on child sexual abuse