| Updated at: 2213 PST, Thursday, November 25, 2010|
KARACHI: At least 1195 women have been murdered during the current year in Pakistan, while 98 others murdered after rape, says the research-based data of Pakistan's first helpline for women and children, Madadgaar, released here on Thursday on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The growing incidents of violence against women are a blemish on the face of our society and they seriously hamper the efforts for empowerment women and gender equality in Pakistan, said Project Coordinator of Madadgaar Helpline, and President Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) Zia
Ahmed Awan, addressing a data-sharing press briefing, here at Madadgaar Helpline. He said serious, urgent and concrete efforts are needed at every level to end the abuse of girls and women. Women not only in Pakistan but around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence, and the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden.
Awan said "violence against women" refers to acts capable of causing physical, sexual or psychological harm, whether in public or private life. He said sadly the incidents of violence against women are being reported from all parts of Pakistan, which should be a wakeup call for all stakeholders including the government and civil society.
Zia Ahmed Awan said the figures of Madadgaar Database are compiled from the reports printed in the mainstream Pakistani media. He said this year from January 01 to November 15 at least 1195 cases of murders of women have been reported so far, while 98 others women were killed after rape. Three hundred twenty one women were raped while 194 gang-raped. As many as 451 women fell prey to the black custom of Karo-kari. The cases of torture of women remained 1091, while 126 women were burnt. Three hundred eighty three women were kidnapped, 316 braved police torture, 491 committed suicides, while 27 faced Hudood cases.
Ninety two women were trafficked, while the number of forced marriages and Vani cases remained 132, and 23, respectively. Overall 4870 cases of violence against women and girls have been reported this year so far. He said the Madadgaar Database has reported 79909 cases of violence against women since the year 2000.
Talking about the provincial breakdown of the violence against women cases this year, Zia Ahmed Awan said 2489 cases were reported from Punjab, 1070 from Sindh, 998 from Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa and 313 from Balochistan. He said the less number of cases of Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa and Balochistan provinces was due to strong feudal and tribal culture, and lack of access of media to these highly backward and far-flung areas.
He suggested raising awareness about women's rights at every level. He said all discriminatory laws against women should be repealed and bureaucracy, police, judiciary and media be sensitized about the women's rights issues.
He said that more budgetary allocations should be diverted towards social sector, especially education and healthcare, as poverty and joblessness were amongst major causes behind violence against women cases. He demanded empowerment of women and ensuring gender equality at every level. He said on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women we should vow to mobilize every person for the realization of women's rights and ending abuse of women and girls in Pakistan.
On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly, through its resolution number 54/134, designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This year's International Day spotlights leadership by the corporate sector in ending gender-based violence.