Pakistan’s failure to not only respect international obligations but also its incompetence to protect its women and girls is equivalent to the fact that the country should face global sanctions, a European Parliamentarian said in a report.
Given this systemic problem and the failure of Pakistan to protect its women citizens, Gianna Gancia, a member of the European Parliament, in a report published in EU Chronicle has urged women in decision making positions worldwide to demand that Pakistan make and implement policies to protect its women and girls form abuse, trafficking and violence.
“I call on all women in positions of responsibility in the decision-making processes, at national government levels and at European and international levels, to demand that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan creates policies to be implemented to prevent violence against women and girls, to protect victims of these crimes and to prosecute the perpetrators of abuse and trafficking,” Gancia said.
Pakistan is ranked by the Global Gender Gap Index 2018 as the sixth most dangerous country in the world for women and the second-worst in the world (ranked 148th) in terms of gender equality.
Sexual crimes, domestic violence, abductions, forced conversions and the trafficking of women and girls is rapidly rising. A Lahore-based non-governmental organization, White Ribbon Pakistan reported that 47 034 women faced sexual violence, over 15 000 cases of honour crimes were registered, and over 5 500 kidnappings of women took place between 2004 and 2016.
The US State Department also in its 2018 Trafficking in Persons report stated, “The Government of Pakistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.” Also, the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan, UN Women and other agencies estimate that the numbers of victims of trafficking in Pakistan run into the thousands.
In addition, the EU Chronicle report stated that the trafficking rings, made up of Chinese and Pakistani middlemen pay bribes to families to sell their daughters. It is said that brokers can make between EUR25,000 and EUR65,000 from the groom, of which only about $1,500 is given to the family. After the sale, the girls face a life of abuse, slavery and even prostitution in many cases.
The report also cited Omar Warriach, Amnesty International’s campaigns director for South Asia, as saying, “It is horrifying that women are being treated this way without any concern being shown by the authorities in either country. And it’s shocking that it’s happening on this scale.”
Despite new legislation enacted to protect and promote women’s rights in Pakistan, usually created as a result of international pressure and Pakistan’s desperation to hold on to EU aid and trade preferences, the violence against women and girls continues to escalate. Prosecution rates remain low, with the accused in just 2.5 per cent of all reported cases ultimately being convicted by the courts.
Pakistan has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) yet Pakistan fails to safeguard its women and children. The Imran Khan government needs to exhibit strong will to tackle these grave crimes if they are to gain any respect from countries other than China.