Pakistan is one of the most dangerous country to be a woman. he State does little to protect it’s vulnerable; despite constitutional guarantee and laws guaranteeing free will to the women of Pakistan, they are denied their fundamental right. “Honour killing” alone claims a thousand lives each year in Pakistan. Despite a lapse of 69 years since its inception, the State has not been able to empower its women and girls. Rather, Pakistan has regressed to the stone ages, where women may have been traded and bartered as chattel. While their peers are heading nations, corporations, and multinational entities, Pakistani women have to suffer the wrath of the Council of Islamic Ideology, who dwell on the best methods to hit a woman and what kind of weapons can be used to “lightly” beat wives.
The act of live burning of young girls has become endemic. While most go unreported, recently three cases have found space in the press. 19-year-old Maria Sadaqat and 16-year-old Amber who were burnt for daring to exercise their right to choose whom to marry. While the former was burnt for refusing a marriage proposal, the latter was torched for assisting her friend to elope.
The increasing intolerance and radicalization is reflected in the societal disorder that manifests every time a woman suffers torture and violence. Legislative lip service such as Women Protection Act, Anti-Honour Killing Laws Amendment) Bill 2014 and Anti-Rape Laws have failed to change the patriarchal mindset; the laws have lost their credibility due to lack of implementation.
The violence that what many Pakistani women face can be described as gender-based violence. It includes physical, mental and sexual abuse because of gender. This global term is used mainly in the context of women who suffer brutality because they are female. Within gender-based violence the cruellest form of oppression is domestic violence. It is said and frequently reported that Pakistani women are at more risk of domestic violence than any other form of gender violence.
In Pakistan, patriarchal control over women includes the institutionalisation of extremely restrictive codes of behaviour. There is a widespread practice of rigid gender segregation that excludes women from social and economic opportunities. Moreover, specific forms of family and kinship and a strong ideology linking family honour to female virtue allow men to control women. Thus, when a woman’ s behaviour is seen to threaten the patriarchal order, it is her body that is punished with beatings, burnings, sexual abuse, and even murder in the name of honour. To add to the misfortune of these women, not only have subsequent Pakistani governments, whether elected or dictatorial, failed to legislate to protect the rights and real honour of women, but instead they also have formulated several laws that protect perpetrators of violence against women.