It is a depressing day for women, our country, and the people ruling it. Three days ago, on 15th August PM Modi emphasised on the need for eradicating misogyny from India. Things are quite different, and difficult for women on this side of the border, but no political elite has uttered a single word for women’s rights and safeguarding their dignity. Pakistan prides itself as an Islamic state which it is anything but. Last night a video went viral and social media erupted with the hashtag JusticeForKhadija. The dejecting video shows a young girl Khadija being brutally harassed and tortured by a woman, and a gang of men after she was abducted from her home. She was tortured, and violated for rejecting a marriage proposal by a man named Sheikh Danish , a rich businessman (no surprise there).
Faisalabad CCPO Umar Saeed Malik made note of the incident and reported the offenders to the women’s police station. Six suspects in the case—Danish, Maham, Khan Muhammad, Shoaib, Faizan, and Ashghar—have been detained by the police. Danish was released for a bail of PKR 50,000.
Why is it that people in the Islamic Republic, especially women, only get a ray of hope when their name trends on Twitter? There have been several cases in this year alone where Twitter was used to seek justice for women like Annie who was murdered in cold blood by her husband in front of her three children. Three days ago, another video went viral where a group of rowdy men at Shakar Parian, Islamabad, were seen harassing foreign women.
These experiences has made one thing clear. In Pakistan, for a woman to get heard she has to either die, or strip naked (metaphorically speaking) in front of the camera. She should not expect anything from the LEAs because their sole purpose is to serve the needs of the ruling elite, and the rich. Pakistan is already the 6th most dangerous country for women. It’s strict conservative values are marred by rapes, honor killings and struggle for economic rights.
It is no surprise that political parties like JUI who were at the forefront of condemning Aurat March, and the ex-PM Imran Khan who accused women’s dressing for their rape has not uttered a single word against Danish Sheikh, nor shown support for Khadija, who would require years of counselling to get out of this trauma.
The victim, who is a BDS student, is an orphan and does not belong from a rich background, making her case quite weak before our justice system. The social downfall of our society, especially with regards to women rights, and justice is a worrisome situation. We have hardly seen such kind of brutality in any other state that claims to be Islamic. Being a Muslim republic, Pakistan should be the safest place for women, and have the strongest justice system. But things are glum for women, and are only getting worse with each passing day.
By Amna Sheikh