Pakistan, an Islamic state has experienced the worst forms of women’s rights abuse. Pakistan women and girls are subjected to these abuses by the broader community including; the general community outlawed militants such as the Taliban, government institutions, and religious institutions. These abuses which are always in contravention of the provisions of human rights infringe upon women’s rights to an education, marriage, and freedom to belong to any religion. Pakistan’s government despite putting in place constitutional and legislative guarantees, is unable to safeguard the rights of women and girls. Society is male-dominated and women have been shoved aside in the societal mainstream. There is forced conversion of women who are either Christians or Hindus to Islam which the government has also failed to address (Avenue, York, & t 1.212.290.4700, 2017). Those who are seen as of different religions are attacked, sometimes even in attacks instigated by religious leadership. This paper seeks to discuss the existing forms of violations of women’s and girls’ rights in Pakistan.
The persistent problem in Pakistan is the perpetual fragmentation of the legal framework and further, insufficient mechanisms in place for the enforcement of laws. Violation of children’s rights is prevalent as a reported 21% of girls are forced to marry before the legal age of 18. There was an effort to put into legislation a bill to raise the minimum marriage age to 18 and enforce harsh penalties on arrangers or forced marriages but was withdrawn owing to an Islamic advisory council for the parliament which castigated the move terming it against Islamic laws and improper (Avenue et al., 2017). Women who marry men of their choice are maimed and burned to death, in a practice called honour killings, which in some cases is carried out by family members to avoid prosecutions, while those of the larger community exploit a leeway in Pakistani law which permits the family of murder victims to pardon perpetrators (Zahid & Ali, 2014).
The Pakistan government allows these infringements on women’s rights since they have a perpetual fear of violent extremists. There is a dominant political ambience of intolerance and impunity which frightens the Pakistan parliament from proposing good laws. The state also allows these evils against women since they are trying to avoid upsetting religious and social norms, which has seen the state put little or no effort in committing to implement the good laws (“Women’s Rights in Pakistan,” n.d.). Police officers who abuse women or fail to probe their plights are not held answerable (“Women, Violence, and Conflict in Pakistan,” 2015). Similarly, the religious community permits these evils by constantly attacking lobby groups seeking redress of women’s plights since they are hell-bent on pegging women on the traditionally held notion of being a lesser being. They also feel intimidated if women were to be accorded equal opportunities.
Girls are also barred from accessing an education while their male counterparts are taken to school. There are also prevented from accessing other social amenities. When they report these matters, they are harassed by police and suffer psychological torture (Editor, 2016). Violent cases are prevalent and can be categorized into different forms as; abduction, murder, domestic violence, honour killings, rape and gang rape cases, burning by acids and suicidal cases instigated by this maltreatment. Recent statistics have shown that over 500 girls and women were sexually assaulted, and another over 800 were raped and stripped off their clothes in public. In total, over 7852 reports of violence instigated against women were filed in Pakistan (Webmaster, 2017). The position of women and girls in Pakistan, therefore, is wanting.