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Violence Against Women

According to the Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Pakistan has been ranked as the fourth most perilous nation for women in 2021.

The Constitution of Pakistan, Article 25 (2), clearly states that no person should be discriminated against based on his/her sex alone. The Government of Pakistan acknowledges that violence perpetrated against women manifests gender-based discrimination. Moreover, this is fundamentally incompatible with the constitutional principles of the country.

As per the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a significant proportion of women, precisely 32%, have encountered instances of violence in Pakistan. Fifty percent of these women never sought assistance or disclosed the violence they had endured. It is believed that statistics do not provide a complete picture of suffering and loss but that the stories of survivors do.

In 2019, a model policy on violence against women and girls was drafted to combat all forms of violence against women and girls, including honor killing. It states: “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, Page 5 5 sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.”

The National Action Plan by the Ministry of Human Rights sets out to enhance the human rights situation in the country. It identifies the protection and empowerment of women as a priority intervention area. This includes national policy guidelines on gender-based violence, reviewing discriminatory laws against women, establishing new crisis centers for women, and fortifying existing centers and services at the district level.

The Government of Punjab has enacted “The Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act 2017” to establish an effective protection system for the rescue, protection, shelter, and rehabilitation of women who are victims of violence. In 2013, the Provincial Assembly of Sindh enacted the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act. The initiative aimed to safeguard women from diverse manifestations of violence and gender-related prejudice while also criminalizing acts of violence.

The cabinet of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has approved the KP Domestic Violence Against Women (Prevention and Protection) Rules, 2022. These rules aim to safeguard women from acts of violence, as mandated by the Constitution. The Balochistan Assembly has passed the Balochistan Harassment Act 2016 to mitigate the issue of workplace harassment experienced by women.

CREDP emphasizes that violence in any form is not acceptable and is an inhumane act. It needs to stop. At the state level, the government is responsible for regulating and implementing the laws and policies already here. Moreover, there should be strict regulations and punishments against those who commit violence against women. It is imperative to establish a comprehensive justice system in this regard. Additionally, the government could implement awareness initiatives to educate women in Pakistan about the violence they are experiencing and address it systematically.