Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Something specific

And just to beat the drum about Pakistan some more, according to Stuff, Helen Clark will not be raising the issue of women's rights with President Musharraf because she hasn't had her attention drawn to "anything specific [she] should be raising".

Well, how about this?

Honor killings continued to be a problem, and women were the principal victims. Local human rights organizations documented 1,458 cases during the year, and many more likely went unreported. Sindh province had over half of reported cases, although human rights organizations believed the practice also was prevalent in Punjab, NWFP, and Baluchistan. For example, on April 14, Gudshan Ali and his brother-in-law Dilawar killed Ali's wife after accusing her of adultery in Drakhan Village, Sindh. Police arrested Ali, who remained in detention. On June 22, Mukhtiar Ahmed shot and killed his sister Reshman and Abdul Shahoor in Munaabad Village, Sindh after accusing them of adultery. Despite the filing of a complaint with police, no arrest was made. Police arrested several family members in the 2003 death of Afsheen Musarrat; all except her father, Musarrar Hussain, remained in custody. No progress was made in the Muridke case from 2003, nor is any likely. On October 26, the National Assembly adopted a bill increasing penalties for crimes involving matters of honor and placing restrictions on the victims or heirs' right to pardon perpetrators of such crimes; however, human rights groups remained concerned that perpetrators of such crimes, in a limited number of cases, could still be pardoned by the victim or heirs

Or this?

Rape, other than by one's spouse, is a criminal offense. One cannot be prosecuted for marital rape or for rape in cases where a marriage between the perpetrator and victim has been contracted but not solemnized. Although rape was widespread, prosecutions were rare. It is estimated that less than one-third of rape cases were reported to the police. Police were at times implicated in the crime (see Section 1.c.).


Police frequently discouraged women from bringing rape charges and often abused or threatened the victim, telling her to drop the case, especially when bribed by the accused. Police requested bribes from some victims prior to lodging rape charges, and investigations were often superficial. Medical personnel were generally untrained in collection of rape evidence and were at times physically or verbally abusive to victims, accusing them of adultery or fornication. Women accused of adultery or fornication were forced to submit to medical exams against their will even though the law requires their consent. Judges were reluctant to convict rapists, applied varying standards of proof, and, at times, threatened to convict the victim for adultery or fornication rather than the accused for rape. Families and tribes, at times, killed rape victims or encouraged them to commit suicide.

Husbands and male family members often brought spurious adultery and fornication charges against women under the Hudood Ordinances. Even when courts ultimately dismissed charges, the accused spent months, sometimes years, in jail and saw her reputation destroyed.

(Again, both these examples are from the US State Department 2004 country report for Pakistan).

From the above, it is clear that the Pakistani government fails to protect even the most basic rights of women. Isn't that something Helen Clark should be raising?