NationalVOLUME 17 ISSUE # 2

A degenerating society

Pakistani society is degenerating rapidly. Every segment of society is becoming extremely unethical, corrupt, violent and callous. Unfortunately, the country’s law has failed to serve and protect the people. The poor and helpless people, including women, children, and members of minorities, are being exploited, tortured, abused, harassed, and killed without any fear and remorse.

Hardly a day goes by without news of another shocking rape case in which women, boys, girls and little children fall prey to a nauseating lust of a criminal or mental deviant. The cases of women’s harassment are increasing. Tragically, even animals are not safe from the barbarity of the wicked and mentally-ill people in Pakistan.

A case has been registered against five men for allegedly raping and killing a goat in Okara on July 28. According to the police report, five men untied Azhar Hussain’s goat and took it to a nearby compound where they raped, tortured and killed the animal. The medical report has confirmed that the goat was raped before it was killed.

On the same day, a six-year old girl was kidnapped, raped and killed in Korangi, Karachi. According to the preliminary medical report, the girl was raped and tortured before being murdered and then thrown in a garbage dump. Eyewitnesses told the police a rickshaw driver had left the girl’s body there.

On July 20, Noor Mukadam, daughter of former Pakistani diplomat Shaukat Mukadam, was allegedly raped, tortured and beheaded by Zahir Zakir Jaffer, son of a business tycoon, at his residence in Islamabad’s upscale Sector F-7/4. According to the accused, Noor Mukaddam was betraying him. “I stopped her after knowing about her betrayal but she denied which made me angry,” Zahir Jaffar said. It is also reported that the parents of the accused and the security guards hid the incident for three hours.

On July 10, the police arrested a man, Qalbe Abbas, who killed his wife for refusing to “entertain” his friends, Bakhtiyar and Abdus Samad, in Karachi. According to Quaidabad police investigation officer Zakirullah, “M.’s husband Qalbe Abbas used to torture her and forced her into prostitution.” Abbas, in his confessional statement, told the police that she was first kidnapped by a taxi driver, Ameer, who took her to his house. Later, Ameer’s wife sold her to Fatima, mother of Abbas, for Rs20,000. After some time, Fatima married her off to her son who used to torture her and would force her to have illicit relations with his friends. The investigation officer said that on the night between June 23 and 24, Abbas came home along with his friends, Bakhtiyar and Abdus Samad. They were drunk. Abbas forced her to entertain his friends but she refused, to which they tortured and stabbed her. They tied her hands and feet, threw acid on her face and dumped her body at a deserted place.

On August 15, the Lahore police arrested Model Nayab’s stepbrother, Aslam, for allegedly killing her for honour. According to the police, the model’s stepbrother, Aslam, has confessed that he first strangled her and then stripped her body to mislead the police and pose that it was a rape-cum-murder case. Another woman, a mother of three, was allegedly shot dead by her brother for “honour” in Lahore a few weeks ago. Mayra Zulfiqar, a 24-year-old law graduate of Pakistani origin, who was a Belgian national, was found dead at her flat with bullet wounds in May.

According to police statistics, at least 6,277 cases of honour killings have been reported in Punjab alone between 2011 and 2020. There are also many cases of violence, assaults and harassment against women. A female TikToker, Ayesha Akram, was assaulted, harassed and stripped by 400 men on Independence Day in Lahore. An FIR has been registered against the accused. The videos of the attack show the men are tossing her into the air. Some men are tearing her clothes. The videos are shocking which created deep resentment among the people.

On the same day, another young woman faced harassment in Lahore. A video shows two girls along with a child sitting on the back seat of a motorcycle-rickshaw that was stuck in a traffic jam as people were celebrating Independence Day. A man suddenly jumped onto the rickshaw and forcibly kissed one of the girls, while other people enjoyed the scene. Tragically, there was not even a single person who could try to stop the idiot.

In spite of arresting the accused, law-enforcement authorities indulge in gender bias as displayed by the Lahore city police chief in the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway rape case in 2020. In our patriarchal society, a woman is considered a creature who “entices” or “provokes” men. This approach should be changed.

A newspaper writes: “In the Aug 14 incident, a number of arrests have been made, with the government vowing that more suspects will be taken into custody. One hopes the perpetrators meted out the exemplary punishment they deserve. However, nothing will change in the long run. This country will remain unsafe for women, and gender-based violence will continue to be massively underreported because victims do not want to risk being pilloried in the court of public opinion. Pakistani society has a problem; it needs to acknowledge it. But there are also many who are outraged and sickened by what they see around them. Their voices must be heeded, and the state should take the lead in changing a deeply misogynistic narrative”.

Women should be considered equal citizens of the state, who have rights under the Constitution and severe punishment should be given to those who indulge in rapes, harassment and violence against women and children. The state should educate people about the rights of women through the media. Without observing ethics, law and morality, no society can sustain. Pakistani society should adhere to the principles if it wants to flourish. Otherwise, there would be a real chaotic situation in the coming days.