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    Increase of Sexual Assault cases in Pakistan due to the Misinterpretation of Islamic Laws

    Increase of Sexual Assault cases in Pakistan due to the Misinterpretation of Islamic Laws

     

    Pakistan is an Islamic state in which everyone is free to practice their faith, speak their minds, and live their lives as they like. It is far superior to many other Islamic countries because the people who live here are enthusiastic about their faith and its events. Although the Islamic Republic of Pakistan treats women with greater respect, there is a higher rate of sexual violence complaints than in the past.

    Rape cases have increased dramatically in Pakistan in recent years. Women in Pakistan are in desperate need of the protection they deserve, and fury alone is not enough. Pakistan is a majority Muslim country that ranks among the world’s worst 10 countries when it comes to rape. The number of rape cases reported this year has dramatically increased. According to statistics, 10 rape crimes are recorded every day in Pakistan, with more than 22,000 rape incidents registered to the police in the last six years. Punjab accounted for 85 percent of the total. However, only 77 of those indicted have been found guilty, accounting for approximately 0.3 percent of the total. Only 41% of rape cases, according to a Geo News study, are reported to the police due to social pressures and flaws in the law and order system.

    Mukhtarab Bibi, 30 years old lady, was gang raped on the behest of “Panchayaat” in 2002. However, it is important to remember that Pakistan is an Islamic country with a strong “Panchayat system” and orders. A woman was gang raped by police in 2005 after she refused to pay a bribe to have her husband released from prison. Five ladies aged fifteen to twenty-one were raped by border police in Dera Ghazi Khan in 2012. Zainab Ansari, a seven-year-old girl, was raped and strangled to death in kasur in January 2018. The perpetrator was hanged shortly after. A significant precedent was established. Furthermore, a 21-year-old girl was raped by three police officials in Rawalpindi in 2019.A young ten-year-old girl named “Farishta” was raped and strangled to death in 2019. The highway case and the Noor Muqadam murder case, both of which occurred in 2021, have raised serious concerns about Pakistan’s legal institutions.

    The question that emerges is why Pakistan is experiencing such a rape pandemic? When the government openly proclaims itself to be an Islamic Republic, yet such acts are expressly forbidden by Islam. One explanation could be society’s misogynistic mindset; whenever the media covers a rape case, society begins questioning the victim about their whereabouts, clothing choices, who they were with, whether they were alone or not, what time it was, and so on. The recent increase can also be ascribed to the victim blaming mindset; when these monsters realise that only the victim is condemned by society on a regular basis, they acquire confidence and feel invincible, and thus can do whatever they want.

    Many factors contribute to the rise in rape cases in Pakistan, including a lack of education, particularly in rural regions, where conservative beliefs prevent parents from providing education to their daughters. Second, people are sexually frustrated, and third, despite being an Islamic country, Pakistan’s laws are poorly implemented. In this sense, Islamic punishments are not in use. The act of rape is strictly forbidden in Islam. Unfortunately, our non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are the largest roadblocks to executing Islamic rules on zina and rape.

    Allah says in the Quran, “And come not near to unlawful sex. Verily, it is a shameful (deed) and an act evil, opening the road (to many other evils)” (Quran 17:32).

    The punishments under the Hudud ordinance vary from public flogging to public stoning to death. The penalty must be carried out in public, and neither the state nor the victim can be excused. Regrettably, it has been found that these punishments are rarely used in practice.

    In an attempt to close a loophole that allowed many of the killers to go free, the Pakistani parliament passed laws in 2016 that increased the sentences for rapists, making it mandatory that the perpetrator be imprisoned for 25 years, and those who commit honour killings of women, making it mandatory that the perpetrator be imprisoned for 25 years. Despite these encouraging developments, 370 rapes were reported in the country in 2016, with 3100 instances currently under investigation. Data suggests that the number of instances is increasing over time. Prime Minister Imran Khan also introduced a new anti-rape law that allowed for the chemical castration of serial rapists, however it was later repealed due to un-Islamic teachings and the fact that it was being done in European countries.

    To eradicate rape culture, it is critical to create an environment in which survivors feel safe speaking up and calling out their assailants. On a bigger scale, legislators must enact novel legislation that empowers survivors rather than rapists. Rape culture is aided by media that dehumanize women by presenting them as sex objects. We should publicly rebuke them. Teach your children the difference between good and poor touch, as well as how to respect the opposing gender. As citizens of an Islamic state, we should demand that our government implement Islamic laws in all aspects of life. We must also keep an eye on our children, their friends, and their social media activity. Sexually provocative television shows should be banned since they are the source of this evil. . In order to deal with this crisis, we must all contribute, and we must all speak out against the surge in sexual assault in Pakistan.

    Syeda Mahnoor 
    IIU Islamabad

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