Activists call for addressing root causes of patriarchal violence

September 20, 2020

Participants of a protest camp set up by an alliance of women rights groups on Saturday said that sexual violence against women, Khawaja Siras and children in Pakistan is seen as an affront to their...

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Participants of a protest camp set up by an alliance of women rights groups on Saturday said that sexual violence against women, Khawaja Siras and children in Pakistan is seen as an affront to their political autonomy and bodily integrity.

Various women and transgender rights groups, including Women Democratic Front (WDF), Tehrik-e-Niswan, Gender Interactive Alliance, Raaji’s Baloch Women Forum, Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan Minority Rights Commission, Inter-University Feminist Union, Non-Binary Collective and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, were part of the joint collective that organised the two-day protest outside Karachi Press Club (KPC).

A separate demonstration was held in front of the KPC to protest against the murder of journalist Shaheena Shaheen in Balochistan’s Turbat. The Shaheena Shaheen Yakjehti Committee had organised the demo.

A large number of activists, political organisers and human rights defenders gathered at the protest camp to protest for Shaheena Shaheen and to demand an end to patriarchal violence.

The demonstrators shouted slogans and sang revolutionary songs on the second day of the protest camp. WDF Karachi President Laila Raza told the protesters that this system is breathing its last, saying that all the violence we witness in society has further clarified that this system has failed its people entirely.

Other speakers, including Sheema Kirmani, Parveen Naz, Nuzhat Shirin and Pastor Ghazala Shafiq, stressed the need of collective struggle against the existing system, and urged women to intensify their struggle against allegedly state-backed patriarchy that renders women, children, transgender persons, non-binary people and other gender and religious minorities deprived of all security and rights.

Referring to the mysterious death of Namrita Chandani, a final-year BDS student of Larkana, which remains unsolved despite the passage of almost a year, the activists said that she was subjected to criminal assault, and demanded that her killers be arrested immediately.

The protesters condemned the state’s alleged inaction and failure to make this country safe for women and gender minorities. They opposed capital punishment, which they said is being used as a balm to calm the anger of the public.

They demanded that the state instead address the root causes of patriarchal violence across institutions that either create the conditions for or support patriarchal violence.

They also called for feminists and women to be included in the making of policies and laws. They said the state must respond to the demands of the movement so that every place in this country and every woman, gender minority and child can be saved against patriarchal violence.



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