Violence against women has increased 10 times in the last three months in Pakistan, with four times more cases reported on child abuse and domestic violence according to a report released Monday stating Punjab to be the worst affected region followed by Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The data gathered through print media as well as official sources through the right to information laws, has been reported in a bi-annual tracking report released by Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) covering a period of January to June 2020.
The report titled “Tracking Numbers: State of Violence Against Women and Children in Pakistan” is a sequel to an earlier report published in April this year by SSDO and attempts to present a holistic analysis of children and women rights violations in Pakistan, highlighting their daily risks to safety and security issues.
Violence against women shows a drastic increase since March, with 78% of the cases reported from Punjab during the last six months.
A total of 495 cases were reported according to media reports by the end of June out of which 452 were reported only between April and June, while official data shows the total cases reported to be 3,148.
While 80% of the total of 576 reported cases of child abuse were also reported from Punjab, especially from April to June this year, according to the report. The official data reports 928 cases in total.
Domestic violence cases went up from 32 in the first quarter to 126 in the second quarter, while official sources claim to have 573 cases reported in total over the first six months of the year.
There has also been a considerable upsurge in Punjab and Sindh in the cases reported for women kidnapping and rape during the last three months as compared to the preceding three months.
The gap between news reports and official data again shows inconsistencies with 444 versus 6,720 kidnappings and 250 versus 1,868 rape cases.
According to the official data, Punjab reported the majority 1,658 (89%) rape cases from a total of 1,868. Punjab also reported the highest number of kidnapping 6,448 (96%) of the total 6,720 of the total committed cases in Pakistan.
The document claims that the voices of women and children remain absent from research records and databases, hence never truly reaching legislations and the policy development process with no solid grounds for key decision-making. The difference between the media tracking results and official statistics is huge and reveals the media failed to properly report such incidents.
The report encourages more accurate and comprehensive data collection by government and non-government entities. The analysis has been drawn through eight research indicators namely child abuse, child labor, child marriages, domestic violence, violence against women, harassment at workplace, rape, and kidnapping.
Syed Kausar Abbas, Executive Director of Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO), said there is a grave need to ensure the implementation of laws related to the protection of women and children at all levels, stating that the local government institutions and the police must play a proactive role in curbing this menace.
Children make up 39% while women and girls account for 48% of the country’s 207.8 million population, yet, Pakistan scores 5.46 out of 10 on “Child Rights Index” and ranks 164 out of 167 countries in the “Women, Peace and Security Index 2019/20”, a situation that calls for some serious actions.
Pakistan has pledged its commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), still, women and children in the country continue to face violence, discrimination, and persecution, with authorities often failing to provide adequate protection or hold perpetrators accountable.