Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on the status of women in Pakistan called “Crime or Custom? Violence Against Women in Pakistan.” The report revealed epidemic levels of violent crime against women.
HRW reported domestic violence rates as high as 90 percent, a rise in so-called “honor killings,” and 8 reported rapes per day. Author Samya Burney said, “Women in Pakistan face spiraling rates of gender-based violence, a legal framework that is deeply biased against women, and a law enforcement system that retraumatizes female victims instead of facilitating justice.”
The previous government under Nawaz Sharif had harassed and attempted to silence women’s rights activists. Burney stressed the need for the new government to take a more constructive approach. “The resurrection of civil society in Pakistan should be a top priority for those in control of the country following the coup. As a first step, the nongovernmental sector must be allowed to function freely and independently.”
Media Resources: Human Rights Watch - October 19, 1999