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Govt data shows decline in violence against women

By Kasim Abbasi
August 21, 2021
Govt data shows decline in violence against women

ISLAMABAD: Reported cases of violence against women across Pakistan have fallen over 70 percent in the past three years, according to the data provided by Federal Ministry of Human Rights.

Despite decline in the number of reported cases, the data from provincial helplines for women depicts a horrific state of women’s rights, especially in Sindh and Punjab. Officials working for women’s rights in northern Sindh and southern Punjab consider the place to be “hell” for women and their rights.

The Ministry of Human Rights Toll-Free Helpline data shows Punjab contributing most to the total complaints registered by women all over Pakistan, as the province makes up to 73 percent of the total cases of violence against women in the country.

Gilgit Baltistan is the only region where these cases are minimal. In this year only 2 complaints by women were reported in GB. The maximum cases reported in the region were not even more than 10 in 2018.

Cases related to women abuse in Islamabad in the past three years were more than those occurred in whole Balochistan, AJK and GB. In the present year, women rights abuse cases in the capital are even higher than KPK.

The data provided by Ministry of Human Rights shows that the total complaints made to helpline (1099) by women in 2018 stood at 6,238. Whereas, in 2020, around 1,718 complaints of women violence emerged with only 1,655 in the first half of the current year 2021.

Majority of the complaints made to the National Toll free helpline by women were related to family disputes followed by gender based violence on second and harassment on workplace at third.

Interestingly, the provincial women specific helplines, not affiliated with MoHR show a completely different picture. The News gathered data record from prominent helplines working in Punjab, Sindh and KPK for protection of women and acknowledged that the complaints made to these provincial helplines were far more than what were registered in MoHR National Toll free helpline.

Only in Sindh this year, almost 10,000 complaints by women, subjected to violence or any abuse of their right, are registered with Women Protection Cell till now. From only Hyderabad, 6,325 cases of women rights violations are reported from 2018 till this day. Likewise, Punjab Women Helpline (1043) received 4,649 complaints in the first half of the current year 2021.

The Bolo Women Helpline, operational in KPK, stats were normal showing no notable difference from what this correspondent collected from MoHR. The women helpline centre only received 70 complaints in the ongoing year. While 105 complaints in 2018, 89 in 2019 and 165 complaints in 2020.

Briefing about the difference in the number of cases reported in National Toll free helpline and other provincial women specific helplines, Mr Kashif stated that people across Pakistan lack awareness and are not fimiliar with this National Helpline. Whereas, the provincial helplines are specifically oriented for women and are highly active with a lot more budget and awareness campaigns among the women gender, said the official.

A top official at the Ministry of Human Rights told The News that the reported cases related to women rights violations were not even half of the actual cases that were happening in Pakistan. He further revealed that the southern part of Punjab was as bad as Sindh.

Ayesha Hassan, a social activist for rights of women and also head of Women Protection Organisation in Sindh told The News that the northern part of Sindh has become a graveyard for women. "Northern Sindh has been declared a killing ground for women. During the first six months of this year, 91 people were killed among which 66 were women who were blackmailed and then brutally killed".

Last year in Sindh, 12 people were killed in Sukkur among which 10 were women. In the same year, 25 people were killed in Ghotki and 17 of them were women. In Larkatu, three people were killed, all women, in the past year. Surprisingly, the data present with The News shows that in all parts of Sindh, women are prominent in the total number of killings.