“Why wasn’t she travelling with a man?”: senior Pakistani Police officer on woman gang-raped in front of her children

A recent gang-rape of a woman whose car broke down on a deserted highway at night while she was driving with her two children, has brought the spotlight on the terrible state of women’s safety in Pakistan.

Pakistani propagandists and their assets in liberal-Islamist circles never tire of demonising Bharat for its ‘rape culture’ and projecting Dalit, minorities and women as perpetual victims of ‘upper caste’ Hindu male oppression.

Hinduphobic celebrities and commentators were seen praising Imran Khan to the skies when he was elected as PM of Pakistan in 2018, and gushing over how ‘dashing, suave and well-spoken’ he was. Right after the Pulwama terror attack, the Hindu-hating husband-wife journalist duo Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose were found praising Imran Khan’s ‘statesman-like’ speech. Pseudo-secular politicians across party lines were actually willing to believe Imran Khan over their own PM after Pulwama.

But the reality is that there is no worse country in the sub-continent, and arguably the world, for girls & women today. The situation has only worsened under Imran Khan, a man who is known as ‘Taliban Khan’ for his justification of Islamic terrorism and who openly talks about recreating a medieval Islamic state. Not only is the abduction and sexual enslavement of girls from Hindu and other minority communities rampant in the ‘Naya Pakistan’ of Imran Khan’s dreams, even Muslim women are not spared in the radicalised Islamist society of Pakistan.

“Pakistan police arrest key suspect in shocking highway rape” Associated Press, 13 Oct 2020:

Pakistani police have arrested the second assailant in a gang rape of a woman whose car broke down on a deserted highway at night last month, when two attackers pulled her out of the vehicle and brutally assaulted her as her terrified children watched, helpless….

Police had earlier said the woman had locked her car doors when she ran out of fuel on the road in the province of Punjab, where Lahore is the capital, and dialed for help. But the two men, who were armed, broke a car window and dragged her outside where they raped her.

The attack shocked Pakistan and galvanized women’s rights activists — especially after a senior Punjab police officer, Umar Sheikh, blamed the victim for being alone at night in the car with her two children and for running out of fuel…

The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan refused to sack or condemn the officer.

“It’s the mindset in Pakistan,” said activist Tahira Abdullah.

She added: “Over and over I have heard it from many men, ‘Why did she travel so late? Why was she on the motor way? Why didn’t she check the petrol? Why didn’t she have a man with her? I would never let my wife, my sister, my mother out alone’.”

Abdullah says Pakistani women and girls are facing an increasingly violent backlash from the country’s traditional male-dominated society. Nearly 1,000 women are killed in Pakistan each year in so-called “honor killings” for allegedly violating conservative norms on love and marriage.

“It doesn’t matter the political party — right, left, center, military, civilian. It’s just anti-women,” she said. “With increasing education of girls and young women and rising awareness and awakening of girls and women, men are now starting to feel threatened and scared of losing their authority, control and power.”

Pakistan has been buffeted by a number of brutal attacks on women and girls in recent months, most recently the rape and slaying of a 2-year-old girl in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province who was snatched taken from outside her home where she had been playing.

“We have regressed … we are going worse to worse to worse,” said Abdullah.

Last month, Shaheena Shaheen, a 25-year-old journalist and activist, was killed in southwestern Baluchistan province in a shooting that police have blamed on her husband.

More than 150 Pakistani women journalists signed a petition last month complaining of verbal attacks and sexist rhetoric pervasive on social media, many originating from those linked to Khan’s government, according to the petition.

In April, two teenage girls were killed in the rugged border region of Waziristan by a family member after a video of the teens surfaced on social media, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

“Antiquated — and lethal — notions that ‘honor’ resides in women’s bodies and actions still prevail across Pakistan, and it will take far more than laws to effect a change when perpetrators of ‘honor’ crimes continue to act with impunity,” the commission said in a recent statement…

Two leading institutes — the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo — have ranked Pakistan among the four worst countries in the world to be a woman, preceded only by Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen…”


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