Lahore (AsiaNews) - A 14 year old Christian girl was raped by a policeman with an accomplice, at gin point, while in the next room, bound and gagged, her grandparents felt powerless to intervene. The incident occurred on the night between 7 and 8 March in Sheikhupura district, Punjab province, while around the world events were held to celebrate International Women's Day. Even in Pakistan seminars and meetings were held, even President Asif Ali Zardari, yesterday, signed a law to protect women.
On the evening of March 7, 14 year old Kiran (*), originally from Jaranwala, paid a visit to her grandparents who live in the village of Malowal, in a small house not far from the property of a superintendent of police. On the night Nawaz Wahla, a law enforcement official, along with an accomplice Mehboob, a milkman, jumped the fence and broke into the house. According to the newspaper The Express Tribune reports they tied up the grandparents and repeatedly raped the girl, at gun point.
Once she had escaped, Kiran released the grandparents who have accompanied her to the hospital for medical treatment, however, neither the doctors nor the police wanted to bring relief to the Christian girl, or take action to catch the perpetrators of violence. Only the official opening of the investigation, initiated by a diligent judge allowed the detention of Mehboob - the accomplice - while Nawaz has so far eluded capture.
Yesterday, March 8, meanwhile, across Pakistan events to commemorate International Women's Day were held. In the capital Islamabad, women's organizations sponsored a seminar to enhance the value and role of women in the world. Simultaneously, President Asif Ali Zardari ratified the Law on the National Commission, to assess the status of women's rights in the country, and he ensured that the body will play a crucial role in safeguarding and protecting the rights of women.
However, women's associations contest the claims of institutions emphasizing that laws are not enough, if they are not enforced. In a public meeting held yesterday in Faisalabad, organized by the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (Awam), activists pointed out that "new and more laws are not enough", but it is the government that "in practice must ensure" the protection of women and their equal rights. Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church (NCJP) was also among the participants and noted that "the number of attacks against women in Pakistan is four times higher than the cases that reported "and many crimes" based on sex pass in silence. "
In Multan, organizations of Catholic women - along with other women's movements - have sponsored a demonstration in the streets. Sr. Margaret, among the participants at the event, stressed that "to celebrate woman, we must also recognize the importance of women". The nun adds that "although there are rules against domestic violence and acid attacks", so far "measures against men" have not been taken. And many women do not even know the existence of the law."
Among the representatives of Pakistani women celebrated today, are 13 year old Malala Yousafzai, a young activist who has fought against aggression of the Taliban in the Swat valley, awarded by the civil society and government. On the Catholic front honors go to Zenobia Richards, a victim of the demolition of a Catholic institution Gosh-e-Aman in Lahore, where she lost her home and many of her possessions. Thanks to the Masihi Foundation she has found a new home.
* The name is fictional to protect the identity of the child.
( Shafique Khokhar collaborated)