The women situation


The laws protecting women's rights in Pakistan work on paper, but the laws are not being enforced to protect women in the way that they were written. The estimated percentage of women who encounter domestic violence ranges from about 70 to 90 percent according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). Rafiq Zakaria in his book The Trial of Benazir, writes, "the husband has an edge over the wife in family affairs but from this we cannot conclude that a man is superior to a woman in every respect". There is no basis for this either in Qur'an or the Sunnah. This is socially tolerated due to the Islamic tradition of the country, in which the men of Pakistan are dominant over the women. It was also estimated by the HRCP that about eight women are raped nationwide every twenty-four hours in Pakistan, and at least half of them are minors.
Females and non-Muslim men cannot testify on behalf of the woman, which makes the lack of consent very hard to prove. An incident in April of 1998 involved two Afghan women who reported being raped after being kidnapped from a bus leaving a refugee camp. The driver was detained, but paid a bribe to the police which set him free. The Pakistan Commissiorate of Afghan Refugees, which was responsible for the incident, investigated the accusation, and detained the driver again. A law was passed that invoked the death penalty for people convicted of gang rape, but due to the fact that gang rape is one of the tools used for social control by criminals, landlords, and the police, complaints aren't frequently responded to by police. There also have been many women forced by the police to perform sexual favours in order to be released from custody, while' others held by police are just raped (Islam, Gender & Social Change)

Honor killings are another major human rights atrocity that Pakistan does not seem to be concerned about. A Pakistani woman named Samia Sarwar was shot to death in her attorney's office. Her family had hired a hit man to kill her because she was seeking a divorce from her husband. These cases are most often provoked by the belief that the wife had been unfaithful, and the husband or the rest of the family sees the behaviour as being dishonourable. Since the women in Pakistan are subservient to the men, they are indicators of the power of the man they are with, and when the woman is believed to have disobeyed, the man's honour is damaged. The wife is usually killed in these attacks, but if she does survive, she could badly battered, burned by fire, or disfigured by acid attacks. There have been countless instances of these "honour killings" similar to the two-hundred and fifty women in the city of Lahore who were bumped to death in their homes in 1997 of which only six cases had an arrest. As in the case of Samia, her murderers have yet to be brought to justice although the evidence against them would have surely brought a conviction in almost any fair court of law. The laws are very lenient on those who are arrested for such acts. And there are numerous loopholes in the laws that make prosecution of the defenders even mote difficult.
 It appears from above discussion that despite formal provision for complete equality between men and women under these laws, yet it is difficult to ignore the fact hat the vast majority of Muslims have come to accept rights as hierarchical, with adult. male Muslims possessing the most rights and women and non-Muslim the least.