Thu. Jun 1st, 2023

Crime prevention is a major problem in Pakistani society as the focus is on harshest punishment rather than getting to the root cause.

Crimes against women in Pakistan: Death penalty is no solution
Crimes against women in Pakistan: Death penalty is no solution


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In February 2022, Zahir Jafar was sentenced to death for the brutal murder of Noor Muqaddam. In the appeal against this sentence, the Islamabad High Court upheld the sentence given by the Sessions Court and changed the life imprisonment of the convict to death penalty for raping the victim.

The details, photos and CCTV footage of the brutal murder of Noor Muqaddam in July 2021, on the one hand, moved the minds of countless people, and on the other hand, left the victim’s family and friends in lifelong agony and shock. Zahir Jafar’s death sentence cannot bring back Noor Muqaddam, nor ease the agony of his lovers.

In 2018, the accused was hanged for the rape and murder of six-year-old Zainab. In 2021, two criminals were sentenced to death in the Motorway gang rape case. But the question arises whether the death penalty is reducing the crimes against women/girls? The answer is no.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, more than 800 cases of sexual assault against women were registered in 2018. In 2022, a report on crimes against women was presented in the National Assembly, according to which a total of more than 63,000 cases of violence against women were recorded between 2019 and 2021.

Among them, about 4,000 were subjected to domestic violence, more than 1,000 women were killed in the name of honor, more than 10,000 women were sexually assaulted and 600 were gang-raped.

In view of the increasing cases of crimes against women, in 2019, the Ministry of Human Rights made a policy draft to eliminate these crimes at the country level. But there was no substantial progress on its legislation. Crime prevention is a major problem in Pakistani society as the focus is on harshest punishment rather than getting to the root cause.

Demands from society for harsher punishments are also common. The same attitude of the society is reflected in our justice system. Especially if a crime is against women, the harshest punishment is preferred. For example, rape is punishable by death. It is interpreted in such a way that in the future no one would think of sexually harassing women.

When the death penalty is not helping to reduce crimes against women, why is our society and legislature not considering alternative options? Such as rehabilitation of convicted criminals, practical measures to end patriarchy, changes in the methods of training boys and large-scale systematic changes in the educational curriculum.

The death penalty may be effective in temporarily assuaging one’s feelings. But what if the same criminals were given opportunities during their imprisonment to reflect on why they committed the heinous crimes? What were the reasons that led them to commit crimes against women? They should be given an opportunity to feel shame, remorse, sorrow and regret for the crime of causing the loss of a precious life, causing the family of a victim to suffer a lifetime of agony and anguish.

Perpetrators should be made to think about how these crimes make women unsafe in society. And these women are also in the family of these criminals. Such crimes keep girls and women in fear not only outside the home but also inside the home. But why is it that our society only considers the punishment after the crime and does not spend time to get to the root causes of the crime.

The main reason for crimes against women is the patriarchal thinking of the society. Most of the people consider men to be more intelligent than women, more talented, more expert in decision making and also guardian of women. They believe that men are therefore superior to women. Boys should be given more opportunities for education as he is the breadwinner of the house. And some do not hesitate to say that men have the right to physically assault women if they do not obey.

Unfortunately, in most households in our society, boys are brought up with this mindset and girls are made to believe that they have to obey everything a man says. As a result, men consider themselves to be more important than the existence of women as soon as they become conscious, and die with the iron of their sovereignty.

In order to prevent crimes against women in the society, parents need a clear change in the training of their children so that the roots of patriarchal thinking existing for centuries can be eradicated. For this, there is a need to raise awareness at the national level through digital training.

Along with this, there is a need to highlight the importance of existence of women in the education system of Pakistan. There is a need for trained teachers in the society, who explain the importance and role of women in every sphere and stage of life and inculcate the rights of women in the minds of boys.

The effects of these changes will not be seen in a few days, months or years but it can be hoped that after 20 years when a new generation steps into practical life, there will be a marked reduction in crimes against women in the society.

Note: The opinion expressed in any blog, comment or column of DW Urdu is the personal opinion of the author, with which it is not necessary for DW to agree.

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