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September 12, 2020

Rape cases on the rise

Top Story

September 12, 2020

LAHORE: While the Lahore police were literally running from pillar to post till the filing of this report to hunt down the two men who had allegedly raped a woman who was stranded on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway with her children on Wednesday, the incidence of this heinous crime is surely surging -- as is the case anywhere in the world -- of course.

Exact figures are hence not available, but a January 12, 2016, statement of the incumbent Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar had shed some light on rape statistics pertaining to Punjab at least.

Chaudhary Sarwar had revealed: "Pakistan is among the 10 worst countries when it comes to rape cases. Around 14,850 kidnapping cases involving women, children and girls have been reported in Punjab during the last one year. Around 10,000 rape cases were reported in Punjab during the last three and a half years, from January 2014 to June 2017. Some 2,000 women were kidnapped and 80pc of them were allegedly raped during last year, while 15 per cent of these were killed.

Chaudhary Sarwar was seemingly quite spot on because research conducted by the ‘Jang Group and Geo Television Network' shows 2,669 women in Punjab were raped during 2014, another 2,509 in 2015, some 2,938 in 2016 and 1,365 in 2017.

Research further shows that during 2019, not fewer than 3,881 cases of rape were registered in Punjab, or 581 cases more than what the case was the case in 2018. The-then Additional Inspector General and the incumbent head of Punjab Police, Inam Ghani, was quoted by media as saying that civil society should play an active role to curb crimes instead of blaming the police.

It is imperative to note that a few years ago, famous international NGO Human Rights Watch had revealed that there while a rape incident occurred once every two hours in Pakistan, and a gang rape was mutilating the honour of a Pakistani woman every single hour.

Rape in Pakistan, which had gained global attention in 2003 after the politically sanctioned gang-rape of a woman Mukhtaran Bibi in the Muzaffargarh District as an "honour rape" after allegations that her 12-year-old brother had had sexual relations with a woman from a higher caste, remains a severely under-reported crime till date.

A May 12, 2020 report of the ‘Gulf News’ states: "An alarming increase has been observed in cases of crime/ violence against women and children in Pakistan during the first quarter of 2020. A periodical report titled "Tracking crimes against people - A numeric tale of human insecurity," which has been released by rights group "Sustainable Social Development Organisation" has revealed a 200 per cent increase in cases of violence against women in Pakistan in the past three months. The report, based on print media coverage of such incidents during the above-mentioned period, also shows the crime rate kept fluctuating during the period as 73 per cent drop was witnessed during the month of February but a spike of up to 360 per cent was witnessed during the month of March 2020."

On April 17 this year, the American Department of State-led Overseas Security Advisory Council had produced a report in conjunction with the Regional Security Office at the US Consulate General in Lahore.

According to this report about rape incidents in Lahore, 101 such crimes were recorded and registered in 2017, there were 54 rapes in 2018 and 55 of such incidents had come to light in 2019.

In 2018, there were six gang rape incidents, dropping down to four in 2019. Following this April 17, 2020, report, which had also highlighted carjacking numbers, assaults, armed robberies, home/shop invasions, theft of personal property and other violent crimes, the United States Department of State had assessed Lahore as being a "High-Threat" location.

Research further shows that by the end of February 2020, as many as 73 incidents of rape, including 5 gang-rape cases, were reported in Lahore.

As per the police record, 10 cases of gang rape were registered in 2019 while the number for the first two months of this year had rested at five. Of the 10 cases registered last year, the police had arrested 28 accused after investigation.