Faisalabad outrage

Will the humiliation of a young girl fade?

The Faisalabad police has acted swiftly, and arrested the six accused of having assaulted, sexually harassed and humiliated a girl, making her lick their shoes, shaving her eyebrows and cutting off her hair, all for having refused the marriage proposal of her friend’s father. The father, a factory owner of the city, is to be faulted for his disregarding the disparity in age between himself and his daughter’s friend, but the brutality of his response at rejection has taken him from the ridiculous into the criminal.

Crimes against women take place the world over. However, Pakistan has special circumstances which make matters worse. One can argue interminably about how much the laws contribute, but the fact remains that no matter the laws that are passed, they will be operationalized by the same police and the same courts which make both police stations and courts seen as hostile places for women. A major difficulty can be seen in the current case, where it is likelier than not that money will change hands, and tuner police will flub the investigation. This will be fully used by the defence legal team during the trial, and the accused will walk out of the dock without a stain on the name.

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In a way, this case will be a test case, and it remains to be seen whether the guilty parties, who showed a particularly debased sense of amour-propre, will be punished or not. There is something wrong with a system where, if the victim lacks sufficient stamina, the guilty will get off unpunished or with a mild slap on the wrist. Apart from the state becoming the main pursuer of all cases, but especially such crimes against women, its personnel, both in the police stations and in the courts, must be duly sensitized towards the plight of victims of such crimes. However, the education system must also play a role. A perverted sense of honour was clearly at play, and it is for the schools to make individuals realize that the kind of barbarity that was on show in Faisalabad is actually the kind of behaviour an honourable person avoids.

Editorial
The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]

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