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Humans-unequal rights


“I don’t want justice, I just want my daughter back” cries Naseem Bibi whose minor daughter was abducted seven months ago from right in front of her house. Ever since the unfortunate episode, this poor mother has been running from pillar to post, seeking help from law enforcers to recover her daughter, but in vain. Maligned and humiliated by society’s customary reaction towards her and her victimized daughter, and battered by the exceedingly unfriendly and insensitive system, she just cannot fight any longer. Naseem Bibi is not the only one to have given up in the face of society’s undeserved stance towards women. In fact she stand in the long queue of women who are deprived and dispossessed of their legal and social rights to complain about and question the heinous crimes occurring against them and their families. In a society driven by patriarchal forces, women like her are judged, typecast and bashed with assertions that directly injure the remains of their self-esteem. Millions of women throughout the world live in conditions of utter denial and violations of their fundamental human rights. Abuses against women are inexorable, systematic, and far and wide tolerated. Women in Pakistan face even a bigger challenge of being persistently isolated from the mainstream of society and maltreated by man-made rules that question the very survival of women. Numerically the women in Pakistan are almost equal to men. They are equal in potential as the men and live in the most diversified locations of the tribal, feudal and urban environments. Despite this diversity, they all face violations of their fundamental rights at the hands of the society in one way or another. Most of women in rural areas have to bear double burden of domestic and outside work. They are the first to rise and last to bed but have no rights to education, health, food or a life of dignity. Although most urban women have better awareness of their rights, yet the old traditions and so-called religious restraints hinder their freedom and independence. Women are beaten, exploited and burnt within the confines of their homes and the state blatantly refuses to intervene declaring the issue “domestic”, thereby failing to protect women and punish their batterers. Inequalities and injustices including discriminatory family codes put women's rightful legal authority in the hands of male family members and restrict women's participation in public life. The lives of millions of women in Pakistan are hemmed in by traditions which enforce extreme seclusion and submission to men. Male relatives virtually own them and castigate breach of their proprietary control with violence. Women do not have sexual and reproductive rights and are forced to marry and bear children of men they do not desire. Government fails to offer them any protection against marital rape that sometimes results in fatal consequences, including increased risk of HIV/AIDS infection. Violence against women, including karo kari, and all other forms of “honor killings” have been indirectly protected by the so-called cultural tags. The Government of Pakistan has taken no measures to end honor killings and hold perpetrators to account. Its gravest failure has been the inability to train police and other law enforcement agencies to be gender sensitive and to repeal discriminatory laws. It has ignored Article 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which it ratified in 1996, and which obliges states to "modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women" to eliminate prejudice and discriminatory traditions. As the world commemorates International Human Rights Day, it becomes all the more relevant for human rights activists, media professionals and the informed few to expose and denounce all those practices and policies that silence and subordinate women. All forms of women’s rights violations including legal, cultural, or religious practices must be shunned by which women are systematically discriminated against, excluded from political participation and public life, segregated in their daily lives, beaten in their homes, denied equal inheritance rights, forced to marry and assaulted for not conforming to gender norms. The right to life of dignity for a Pakistani woman or girl should not be conditional on her submission and conformity with the tyrannical traditions and norms that have been put in place to ensure her total and complete subjugation. The realization of women's rights is a global struggle based on universal human rights and the rule of law. It requires al institutions of the society including media to stand in solidarity with Pakistani women to end traditions, practices, and laws that harm women and struggle against their dehumanization and marginalization. It is a fight for freedom to be fully and completely human and equal without guilt, apology or permission. Ultimately, the struggle for women's human rights must be about making women's lives matter everywhere all the time. A peaceful, democratic and progressive society can never be built unless women are given their due status as “equal citizens”. This cannot be achieved overnight, not even in few months and years. It is a long-stemmed process; a definite course of action that would build on the hushed whispers of deprived, secluded and wronged women and give words to their silent intones. Women must be seen and they must be heard if humanity is to progress, otherwise it will continue its journey towards 


Many Balochi civilians have been arrested and held incommunicado or summarily executed by the Pakistani security forces at part of their efforts to combat Balochi separatism.