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News Updated 11 Sep 2020

The Outcry Against Rape Culture

Photo Credit: Hauterfly
Photo Credit: Hauterfly
With recent cases emerging, we address the situation surrounding rape culture in the country and what is being done about it.

This past week, the Pakistani media has been blowing up with discussions and outcries against the widespread rape culture rooted in our society. The movement begun largely due to the recently reported cases in Karachi and Gujjarnpura, and has gained momentum since then, with citizens feeling unsafe and enraged.

All across social media, users are condemning the act, and many have asked for strict punishment against the perpetrators. The hashtags #HangRapistsPublicly, #EnoughisEnough and #JusticeForMarwah have begun trending.

THE TRADEGY OF MARWAH:

On Saturday, police officials found the burnt body of a five-year-old stuffed inside a gunny bag in the port city’s Essa Nagri neighborhood on Saturday night. She was identified as Marwah.

According to relatives, Marwah came out of her home near old Sabzi Mandi on Friday around 7am to buy biscuits from a neighbouring shop when she was kidnapped. Her family lodged a missing persons report with the police, yet they did not arrive at the scene for the first couple days. Her body was found on Sunday morning.

Police surgeon Dr. Qarar Ahmed Abbasi said the girl had been criminal assault before being murdered- head injuries caused by hard and blunt instruments.

MOTORWAY RAPE CASE:

Separately, two robbers allegedly raped a woman at gunpoint in the Gujjarnpura area on Wednesday while she was stranded on the motorway because her car was having trouble.

She was travelling from Lahore to Gujranwala with her children. According to reports, a relative in Gujranwala told her to call the police helpline and was on the way to help her. Yet, before the relative reached her, two armed gunmen reportedly took her and her children to a nearby field and proceeded to gang rape her. The ‘robbers’ also took her jewelry, cash and other valuables.

When her relative reached the scene, he found her traumatized with blood stained clothing.

Police claim she hadn’t called by the time the armed men arrived, and they are forming teams to trace the culprits. Reports show that the woman called the Motorway Police emergency helpline 130 for assistance. However, she was told that she could not be provided help as the emergency beat was not assigned to anyone.

PRIME MINISTER AND POLICE TAKING ACTION:

Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the authorities to quickly take action against the tragedies that occurred this week. He took to twitter to report that the premier has asked for reports of both incidents and calls for the government to make laws more effective for the protection of women and children.

Additionally, IG Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon and a delegation of PTI lawmakers met with Marwah’s family on Tuesday and assured them the perpetrators would be caught. PTI legislator Jamal Siddiqi informed that over a dozen persons had been detained for interrogation whose DNA samples are being tested.

The police are now claiming to have found the culprit behind the murder. The accused has been identified as “Nawaz” and was arrested after evidence collected by the police matched his belongings. He lives near Marwah’s home and during a raid, the police found his home to be recently washed and disinfected- raising suspicion.

In regards to the Motorway case, newly appointed Punjab IGP Inam Ghani said new evidence has been found that would help track down the culprits. 20 teams have been assigned to the case and so far 12 suspects have been arrested.

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE?

Marwah’s family filed a missing persons report after she was discovered missing, yet the Karachi police arrived at the scene days later to investigate. The woman raped on the motorway called an emergency helpline, yet was denied help by the Motorway police.

Authorities have only now taken action after citizens took to social media to criticize the incompetency of our justice system and police force.

The question is posed: Is this too little too late?

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