943 women ‘killed for honour’ in 2011: HRCP
* Commission’s annual report says 517 people became victim of extra-judicial killings
* 173 abducted and murdered in Balochistan
* 1,715 killed in Karachi violence
ISLAMABAD: Violence against women is increasing in Pakistan as at least 943 women were killed in the name of honour in 2011, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s (HRCP) annual report.
Of the 943, 93 victims were minors, seven Christian and two Hindu women, said the report, titled ‘State of Human Rights in 2011’.
It said that around 4,500 cases of domestic violence against women were reported. The country’s first woman ombudsperson was appointed to receive and examine complaints of sexual harassment and other grievances, it said, adding that the provisions of Sexual Harassment Act had not been implemented by many ministries. “Only three hospitals nationwide had adopted the law.”
The report indicates that 1,715 people were killed in sudden flare-ups of violence in Karachi. Crime remained rampant while poor investigative methods prevented bringing criminals to justice. In cases of extra-judicial killings, 517 people were killed in drone attacks, 337 in police encounters and 173 people were abducted and murdered in Balochistan.
At least 2,307 people were killed and 4,341 injured in terrorist raids, including suicide and sectarian attacks.
The report said that an overwhelming majority of nearly 78,000 people being held in Pakistani prisons were under trial. Some 92 inmates died in prisons across the country in 2011. The plight of Pakistani and Indian fishermen detained and jailed for fishing in the other country’s waters continued, it said, adding that 313 people were sentenced to death by various courts in 2011, including six women.
The HRCP also verified 62 new cases of enforced disappearance, 35 of these disappearances occurred in Balochistan and 20 in Sindh. Bodies of 173 victims of enforced disappearance were also recovered in Balochistan.
According to the report, military operations and actions of terrorists prevented citizens from venturing into large parts of the country. “Ethnic, sectarian and political violence and crime feuds made parts of Karachi no-go zones for a large section of the population,” it said.
Despite official claims of putting in practice the rules for regulating the Exit Control List, arbitrary restrictions on travel were reported. Excessive delays in issuance of passports proved a hindrance for those who wished to go abroad.
It said 600 clerics were barred from various districts during Muharram in a bid to prevent sectarian tensions. The population of Kurram Agency remained besieged amid regular attacks by terrorists on the road connecting the region to the rest of the country.
The report said 389 people were killed and 601 injured in incidents of violence against various Muslim sects in 2011. More than 100 Hazara Shias were killed in targeted attacks in Balochistan and a large number were reported to be fleeing the province. At least six Ahmadis were murdered in target killings on account of their faith. The Hindu community’s concerns over the abduction and subsequent forced conversion of girls and young women were not addressed. At least eight people were booked under the blasphemy law. Another three were given capital punishment under that law.
In flood-affected households, many children were pushed into hazardous labour or beggary because of a lack of any means of sustenance. As a result of floods, nearly 500,000 children under the age of five were at risk of contracting serious diseases. Chronic malnutrition among children in Punjab increased to 39 percent in 2011 from 32.5 percent in 2001. In Sindh, 17.5 percent children of under five suffered from acute malnutrition, and nearly seven percent were severely malnourished.
According to HRCP, 15.1 percent children in the country faced absolute food scarcity. Infant mortality rate was 63.3 deaths per 1,000 births. The under-five mortality rate was 89 deaths per 1,000 children.
About education, the report said that at least 33 percent children were believed to be out of school, and drop-out rate from primary to secondary schooling was nearly 50 percent. It added 542 primary schools for boys and 108 schools for girls were dysfunctional in FATA due to threats by terrorists. Only 16 percent rural women in Sindh completed primary schooling and only eight percent women did so in Balochistan.
According to the report, 1.5 million houses in Sindh and over 7,000 houses in Balochistan were destroyed or damaged during the floods in 2011. Some 12,279 houses were destroyed or damaged in the militancy-hit Bajaur and Mohmand districts of FATA. At least 137 people were killed and 291 injured in the collapse of poorly constructed and maintained structures.
The report said that 16 journalists were killed in the country in 2011. In addition to the considerable risks, journalists often had to contend with non-payment of their salaries for months and sudden retrenchment without any severance pay.