Stories about domestic violence

Violence against women, no more

The Women’s Rights Bill unanimously passed by the Pakistani parliament is indeed a great achievement. For what it’s worth, it is an acknowledgement by the State that yes, indeed, there should be legislative measures to protect women.   Nighat Daad, a lawyer and the social activist behind Take Back the Tech initiative hopes that the proposed Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Act 2011, which now awaits passage in the Senate, doesn’t face the similar fate as the Domestic Violence Bill passed by National Assembly in 2009. Daad says: “The Senate allowed it to lapse while saying that this law will enhance ...

Read Full Post

Forced into marriage

We live in the twenty-first century, yet it is appalling to know that women in Pakistan still face numerous problems especially in terms of marriage. Girls are often not given the right to choose their life partners and later when they are married, they are usually victims of domestic violence. Although most women in Pakistan accept a forced marriage as their fate, and quietly sign the marriage certificate, many women stand up for their rights and refuse to do so. The video shows the fate such women face; they are brutally beaten and threatened till they succumb to the wishes of those ...

Read Full Post

Another women’s bill passed – so what?

So another bill was passed in the National Assembly for taking women rights forward. As a woman, and an ardent advocate of women rights, I should be happy and celebrating. But, seriously, I am not. In fact, what does this Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Act 2011 have to offer that the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act, 2006 or the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010 did not offer anyway? Women are still raped, killed for ‘honour’, thrown acid on and harassed at the workplace. Does passing a bill and making it into a ...

Read Full Post

The life of an abused woman

In this video a young woman by the name of Allahrakhi, from the Panah Shelter in Karachi, Pakistan, is interviewed. For her entire life, Allahrakhi has known nothing but sadness and misery. Orphaned as a very young child, her uncle took her and her siblings in, only to deprive them of their father’s wealth and make them bonded labour. On getting married, Allahrakhi was again subjected to abuse; she was beaten often and severely by her husband. Her sister-in-laws-, too were cruel. They did not allow her new clothes or food, and kept poisoning her husband against her . Later, when her child was born, ...

Read Full Post

Domestic violence: The scars that remain

I had met Sumaira Waseem* many times for work. Vivacious, smiling, in control – she seemed to be a confident, educated woman who had it all: a home, a comfortable lifestyle, three children, a ‘nice guy’ husband and a career she enjoyed as an HR consultant. But sometimes, just sometimes, I felt her eyes did not smile along with her lips. Over the years, slowly, we developed a friendship. This year, during one of our heart-to-hearts, Sumaira spoke out. She came out of her closet. What I heard stunned me. Waseem and she seemed like the almost perfect couple. He was quiet, ...

Read Full Post

How Saira learned to smile again

Saira Liaqat was a teenager when she married a relative. Both families agreed that she finish school before moving in with her husband. However, just a few months later he was demanding she drop out. One hot day in July 2003, her husband arrived at her house and doused Saira’s face with acid. Her face was entirely disfigured, her right eye was blinded and she could barely see from the left. The acid attack erased any trace of the pretty girl of the past – but it has not crushed her spirit. Fortunately, she received help from the Depilex Smile again Foundation, an organisation started ...

Read Full Post

Victims of patriarchy: Save the women of Pakistan

My last blog post on soaring cases of rapes in Pakistan received a mixed review. While some readers appreciated the issues that I highlighted as being responsible for the increasing numbers of the gruesome tragedy, to others the piece was nothing but a Islam bashing, ‘westernized’ viewpoint coming from the pen of a feminist! And while a few of the emails that I received from our foreign readers discussed the hardships that rape victims all over the world have to face and live with (appalled at the lack of support for these victims in Pakistan), there were other countrymen ...

Read Full Post

‘I killed my children’

“Whats going on there?” “I killed them…I Killed both of them…I killed my kids.” It doesn’t get more agonizing than this. A leaked conversation of a Pakistani woman who killed her two young children has left me unable to sleep. Saiqa Akhtar strangled her son and daughter with a wire, after unsuccessfully trying to shove ‘wash-room cleaner’ down their throats, while insisting with the 911 operator that they were blue and not moving. This is my first blog post for The Tribune and apologies that it has to be so dark, but fact of the matter is that we have some really messed up people in ...

Read Full Post