Violence Against Women: The body of Evidence”Two day consultative workshop by KP PCSW in Peshawar22 Sep, 2017 in Women empowerment by Khor2017

KHOR participated in two days consultative workshop arranged by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa PCSW and sponsored by FOSIP and Rozen. The discussion and presentations were on the violence against women and KHOR founding member Dr. Noreen Naseer discussed the social, cultural and administrative conditions in FATA that created particular forms of narratives and perceptions about women’s rights, which is contributing to violence against her and she is deliberately silenced and unheard. She identified two types of violence against tribal women living on the border, structured and semi-structured. Structured is the state violence against tribal women due to deliberate neglect of her rights. The most important reason of deliberate neglect of women’s rights in the border areas is its geo-political location. Owing to its geography, FATA shares its longest border with Afghanistan and is historically linked with the issue of the Durand Line; this peripheral region is completely militarized, and thus kept away from non-governmental organizations, mainstream development, and also national and international media. Although women were and are targets of domestic, national and international violence in all societies, they are also represented, consoled and provided relief. In the case of FATA, unfortunately our narratives of war signify everything except these non-combatant entities, suffering silently from semi-structured (culture) and structured (where the state failed to protect her) violence. During different military operations, particularly the drone attacks and militants’ attacks, while the issues of state sovereignty and national interest are highlighted, women who are displaced, killed and maimed are pushed into oblivion. In the FCR, there is no mechanism or clause that protects women against honour killings and domestic violence, for example, section 30, which deals with adultery but has no clarity to it and thus is often misused against women. In these rights-deprived and violence-centric enforced narratives, the Pakhtun border area people are depicted as conservative, protective and sensitive about their women folk: therefore most of the women-related issues are dealt with as personal issues, kept and treated as belonging to private domain. The prevalent judicial system operated through a Jirga (Council of village elders) is authoritarian and patriarchal, always accepting dominance and violence against women by men as a norm. It is also a militarized space due to international and regional conflicts, hence, combined with enforced narratives, the cultural construct, an unjust patriarchal judicial system and FCR, women’s issues are of low priority and of least concern to the society and state. Special Status” and FCRs, the Pakistan state, while serving her state’s interest, denies social, judicial and political rights to tribal women. In this semi-autonomous region, the state thus provides control to tribal men over tribal women by allowing only the traditional system of Riwaj/Dastoor, thereby debarring any other judicial forum and tribunal in FATA. Tribal men oppressed by the FCR use Riwaj/Dastoor against women, citing it as their autonomy within the special status of the semi-autonomous FATA, thus serving their egos while feeding the state’s militarization agenda. Chapter 4 of the FCR deals with penalties and punishments. These punishments awarded to men directly and indirectly affect women. Under section 21, when there is a blockade of a hostile or unfriendly tribe, the most vulnerable are the women. In some instances, properties are confiscated, leaving women and children without males and in a destitute condition; children and sick or pregnant women can not travel to hospitals due to a travel ban to areas under government control. In many instances, women are left alone to deal with a hostile situation. Section 30 of the FCR mentions a penalty regarding adultery, stating directly that a woman (married) involved in a physical relationship would be fined and imprisoned up to five years on the complaint of her husband (Govt. of NWFP, 1970). It does not provide any defence mechanism or protective measures for a woman falsely implicated by her husband. Many girls and women are killed in the name of false honour; however there is no section in FCR to deal with such a situation. There is no regulation to stop evil practices such as Swara, Badala, Ghag, Miratah and the so-called killings for false ego and honour. Family laws and other issues related to women are left to the Riwaj and Dastoor, completely shutting state machinery to women. Physical assault and woman beating is a common phenomenon of tribal Pakhtun culture; eight out of ten women and children are victims of this cruelty. According to surveys, conducted in various agencies, wife beating is a norm; neither the traditional mechanism nor the state apparatus recognizes it. Even in severe forms of torture by husbands, fathers, sons, uncles, brothers, male cousins and in some cases fathers-in-law and brothers-in-law, there is no law to protect women.

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