Stories about crimes against women

Madiha’s only crime was that she was unable to bring a motorbike in her dowry

Madiha was a 22-year-old girl in Gujranwala who had just gotten married. You know how it is for newly-wed girls; the apprehension, the stress of adjusting to a new home, the worries about making everyone like you and leaving your family behind. For Madiha, these worries became small compared to the horror she ended up facing. Her husband, Amir, would beat her regularly. Madiha’s crime? She was unable to bring a motorbike for Amir in her dowry. Two months or so after the wedding, Amir and his family doused Madiha with petrol and set her on fire. She died within ...

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The son of an MPA raped me: Will I not get justice?

Last Friday night, Sofia Shahid, a woman from Bhatti Colony in Rahim Yar Khan, filed a report with the Saddar Khanpur Police alleging that she had been raped by Qamar Khan Rind, the son of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) MPA Nawaz Khan Rind. Ms Shahid was interviewed by various local news channels while she was at the police station. She described how she was kidnapped from her house (along with her son) and raped by Qamar while his accomplices stood by. She also told reporters that the police were not cooperating with her and were yet to register her complaint. While this matter will hopefully ...

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Skirting the real issue

In a long line of Indian ministers (past and present), each has focused more on sycophancy and less on efficiency. But there’s a current joker in the pack – it is not what he does, instead his words just happen to always speak louder than his actions. Meet Mahesh Sharma, a first time member of Parliament from the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), who in his dominant avatar as India’s culture minister, is setting some benchmarks that should never be emulated. Since discretion is not his forte, Sharma’s new gem has been a far from polite advisory to foreigners visiting India. In ...

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Did Nawaz Sharif just wake up to honour killings in Pakistan?

When it comes to the barrage of crimes against women, Pakistan ranks among the highest in the world. Such crimes against women include violence (sexual and non-sexual), trafficking and murder in the name of “honour”. While no crime is worse than the other, the regularity with which honour killings occur in Pakistan is especially harrowing. As a matter of fact, more than 1,000 women die from honour-based killings every year. These are just the reported cases. Think about how far the number would jump up considering the fact that most of the cases of violence against women go undocumented. Despite the uniformity of these crimes, ...

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Islam would never allow Farkhunda to be lynched

I sat comfortably on a sofa browsing through Facebook; the ambiance was comfortable as was my state of mind. And then flashed an image of Farkhunda – a video clip recorded of the beating and the burning. I clicked on it, I should not have, but I did, I did, I did. And the realisation that Farkhunda must have hurt, she must have felt agonising pain, she must have screamed, she must have shouted, she must have cried ‘help’, she must have cried ‘murder’, she must have been shocked, she must have been scared, she must have been frightened, she must have known ...

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Can you see black and blue?

“Must be your fault.” “You must have done something to provoke him.” “You must have not done enough.” “Maybe you could try harder at home, give him more attention?” “Look, this is stuff happens, I knew someone who…” “But what else are you going to do? Except put on a brave face?” The above statements are all examples, and very basic ones, of how we speak to victims of domestic violence. And this is not just Pakistan or India or sub-continental patriarchal cultural biases that propagate such statements/mind-sets. Domestic violence and crimes against women are a global problem. According to a report on women, the United Nations ...

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No, Jyoti Singh is not India’s daughter

India’s Daughter, Leslee Udwin’s documentary on the brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh in 2012, was aired last night in the UK on BBC Four. It’s a hard documentary to watch, because it’s a terrible story to tell: A young woman gets brutally raped and tortured to death by six men. It’s horrifying enough without adding the details and the film has plenty. Her dreams of being a doctor, paid for by her parent’s small savings and by her nights at the call centre. The rapists’ hatred of the fact that she was a woman and she was out, with ...

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The #DelhiRapist interview and the ugly truth about rape

The Delhi bus gang rape, which occurred in December 2012, redefined rape and rape victims in many ways. As we saw, masses came out for Nirabhya’s support and ended up in historic constitutional reforms. The case has once again come into spotlight with Leslee Udwin’s documentary for the BBC called India’s Daughter. The documentary revolves around rapists and rape victims and the motivation behind the heinous crime. The trailer of the documentary can be seen here. Amid constitutional hassles and fear of public outrage, the documentary has been banned by the Indian government. Although, Udwin claims she interviewed Mukesh Singh, the convicted bus driver involved in the Delhi gang rape, in jail for ...

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Anti-rape law amendment: Another victory for Pakistan

They say we have come a long way since the 80s – the fashions, the styles, the music, the technology. It seems like society is taking a giant leap forward when it comes to development and evolution given that the past couple of decades have been the ones that earmarked rapid changes in social progress. When it comes to women in Pakistan, however, the graph seems to be erratic and stunted at best. The 80s brought to the women of Pakistan a terrible code of injustice vis-à-vis the Hudood Ordinance, a retrogressive set of laws that we still have in place. Not ...

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Another untold story

I walk down the road, Alone in the dark, Hiding my past, Hiding my face, Hiding what has left a mark.   Pointing fingers, Hurting words and each curse. All faith dies, Strength drown, And hopes disperse.   A blot has nested, A taint that is so weak yet so strong, I knock doors, Search whither I link, To whom I belong?   They left me forgotten, Forsaken in the crowd, To die with charge, To bury my voice under the shroud.   To conceal all secrets, To tuck away each word, To masquerade the truth, To let the story stay blurred.   My arms were locked and I tried to get lose, Holding on to my popping hopes, Burning with ...

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