This report addresses the issue of violence against women in Pakistan from a legal perspective – the Constitution, Zina Ordinance, the judicial system, and international law. Though the number of violent incidents against women is increasing, the Government of Pakistan continues to condone these acts by failing to hold perpetrators accountable. Through this legal lens, this report calls on Pakistan to fulfil its obligations under customary law and international treaties, and for the international community to hold the government of Pakistan accountable.

This report gives an initial historiography of violence against women and its roots in the Subcontinent, and positions in within the broader global context. By juxtaposing the statistics related to both violence against women and men, it shows the numerical prevalence of the former.It speaks to the intersection between violence against women and poverty and then goes into detailed case studies on forms of VAW in Pakistan: abuse of women, prevalence of domestic violence, the socio-customary practice of Karo Kari/honour killing, and apprehensions on the honour killing bill.

This report describes the different facets of the phenomenon of honour killings in Pakistan. It looks at the traditions that form the framework of such killings, particularly the commodification of women and the notion of honour. Honour killings may happen for a variety of reasons, including seeking a divorce, rape or choosing a marriage partner. The report highlights the failure of the authorities to prevent these killings by investigating and punishing the perpetrators.

The booklet highlights the practice of 'honour killings' and emphasises on the lack of awareness, statistics and media coverage that the custom of karo kari receives. It, furthermore, provides details of recent cases of honour killings in Pakistan.

B, who was paraded naked in the streets of her village, Neelor Bala, a few days ago, still fears for her life and of her family members because the accused have not been apprehended. Her traumatised 10-year-old son also shakes in fear as he remembers his mother`s ordeal that he was a witness to. “They slapped me a couple of times before attacking my mother,” he recalls. “One of them held me by the arms when I tried to reach for her.”

In 2002, Mukhtaran Mai, a Pakistani seamstress from a small village in the Punjab province was gang-raped by men from a neighbouring clan. Several men from the dominant Mastoi tribe in Meeranwalla had volunteered to rape Ms Mai as a way to settle a score after her 12-year-old brother Abdul Shakoor was seen walking with a Mastoi girl. The decision had been taken by a village court to preserve tribal honour. The jirga, or council of village elders, summoned Ms Mai to apologise for her brother's sexual misdeed. When she apologised, they gang-raped her anyway. In April 2011, the Pakistan Supreme Court upheld the verdict of the Lahore high court and ordered the release of the five acquitted men. In February, 2009, WLUML issued a call for action: Pakistan: Interference in the case of Mukhtar Mai demanding that the Pakistani authorities ensured the trial of those accused of attacking Ms. Mai went ahead without interference. Unfortunately, there continued to be political influence in her case and regular serious threats to her life and the lives of family members in an attempt to pressure her to drop the charges against the perpetrators. Sanaz Raji explains the genesis of a petition to be sent to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, below. Please consider signing it.

This study sets out to explore honour killings in the context of human rights, as a violation of international human rights law meriting the accountability of states. The study aims at providing an analysis of honour killings as a violation of human rights law, identifying the human rights provisions that may be invoked in regard to honour killings and analysing the various approaches that can be taken in order to achieve international accountability for honour killings.

This bibliography attempts to cover all areas of violence against women in the family, the community and by the state. The compilation also includes a full array of resource material from books to monographs and newspaper articles, both published and unpublished, and is broken down by country. 

Much attention has been focused on the process of radicalisation of young men in the areas of Pakistan that border Afghanistan. Peshawar, the town near the border between the two countries, is infamous for being the centre of a vibrant industry and trade in homemade guns. For more than two decades, violence has become the dominant currency of almost every aspect of life in this area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, once known as the North West Frontier Province.

Women’s Action Forum expressed deep regret and disappointment at the Supreme Courts decision to acquit five out of six accused in the Mukhtar Mai case. Mukhtaran Mai had filed appeals against the order of the LHC, Multan Bench, commuting the sentence of one accused and acquitting the abettors involved in gang-raping Mukhtaran Mai on June 22, 2002.

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