Women in Pakistan

In: Social Issues

Submitted By engrosama
Words 1901
Pages 8
WOMEN IN PAKISTAN
DISADVANTAGED AND DENIED THEIR RIGHTS

1. INTRODUCTION

Women in Pakistan suffer widespread human rights violations. Police officers torture and rape women in their custody with impunity. If the victims bring complaints of rape before the courts, unless they can prove that they did not give their consent they may be punished for unlawful sexual intercourse under laws which explicitly discriminate against women. Women face cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments such as floggings and stoning to death. The discrimination against women in law reinforces their vulnerability to other human rights violations. Women's rights are seen as being of secondary importance and women are in a particularly weak position if they try to gain redress.

It is always difficult to prosecute law enforcement personnel who have raped women in their custody. In Pakistan the law relating to rape creates an additional hurdle. Despite the number of women who have been beaten and raped in police custody, few police officers have ever been prosecuted for such violations of women's basic human rights. In the rare cases in which police officers have been convicted of abusing women in their custody, the convictions have always been overturned on appeal.
Women who have been raped are at risk of being convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse. The victim's testimony is not taken into account in rape trials when maximum penalties are at stake. So a woman who has been raped can be sentenced to imprisonment, flogging in public or death by stoning after a trial in which she was given no chance to testify.

The law under which a victim of rape may herself be punished is the Zina Ordinance which punishes sexual offences. So far the harshest punishments that can be passed under this law have not been carried out, but they remain on the statute book and could be imposed at any…...

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