Three consecutive incidents of violence against women in a short span of two weeks in Haripur district is indication of centuries’ old vicious culture of treating woman with contempt and exposing them to harsh punishment for the “mistakes” they are hardly responsible. In all of the three cases male members of the victims’ families emerged as the root cause of the barbaric treatment the poor women faced.
Haripur based civil society organization, SAHARA Development Foundation (SDF), Human Development Organization (HDO), and Rural Development Project (RDP) to the best of their efforts contesting these cases by supporting the victims and their traumatized families, mobilizing media both at national and international levels, extended them help in registration of cases against the perpetrators and affording them facility of free legal assistance.

Husband disfigures spouse to punish for being issueless
Ansar Bibi 35 daughter of Muhammad Afzal of village Choee Khanpur was married to a truck driver Muhammad Riaz about 20 years back when she was barely 15 years old while her spouse was 25 years older than her.
A house, one kenal of land and 10,000 was fixed as her dower at the time of nikah. They enjoyed very good marital relations to start with, but with the passage of time the relations started getting bitter as Riaz behaved with more harshly, used abusive language, thrash her almost every second day without any rhyme or reason. And each quarrel rooted in the taunts of being issueless. She applied all the available methods of treatment, but to no avail. During this period Riaz used every tactic of persuading her for the second marriage that he wanted to solemnize with a woman of a neighboring village with whom he fled the home and got married in Karachi about a year back. Now they have a girl child. After some time when he got back home his behavior got further hostile and after second marriage Riaz, on the instigation of his second wife started a vilifying her on a baseless relation that he often accused her of having illicit relation with one of his first cousins namely Ashiq Hussain. But every time she denied and proved it wrong.
However on the evening of June 17 when Ashiq was again in their home Riaz locked him in a room and started crying that Ashiq and Ansar were caught red handed in indecent condition. As he had already made of plan of getting rid of her he with the help of two cousins namely Sakhawat and Khalid both are the retired army personnel chopped her nose with knife and handed himself and Ashiq over to the police narrating the same fictitious story of catching them from a room. They also deprived her of the gold rings that she was wearing at the time of attack.
“He should have better finished my life rather than exposing me to the trauma of living with the stigma of a woman of bad character”, said Ansar Bibi talking to the officials of local NGOs from the bed of ENT ward of District Headquarter Hospital Haripur.

Handicap girl sexually assaulted by her uncle dies under unexplained circumstances
This second case was reported from the suburban limits of Haripur where a handicapped girl was raped by her uncle (husband of her paternal aunt). The girl died at a private hospital after ten days.
Mahvish Bibi 20, daughter of Muhammad Arif a Rickshaw driver of Muhalla Babu was born as deaf and dumb and due to these complications she was physically frail and abnormal than other three siblings. She was student of 6th grade at the school of special children in Khalabat Township.
One June 8 when her mother Shamim was out of the home in connection with the death of a relative in village Malikyar, leaving behind Mehvish Bibi with her grandfather Taj Muhammad and his son in law Jamil Ahmed son of Faqeer Muhammad of Taxila.
Mehvish was sleeping in a room while her grandfather and the accused were in another room during the day time. Her grandfather left the home for getting milk from a nearby shop when the accused, who was also a bus driver, entered the room of the Mehvish and raped her.
When her mother got back she noticed that the girl was terrified and her shalwar was carrying blood stains and the accused was also missing. The victim narrated her ordeal through sing language who later took her to local police station where the case was registered against the accused and police arrested him. He was now in jail while the medical of the victim confirmed that she was raped.
The traumatized victim, according to her mother stopped taking meals and her condition started getting bad to worst and on 18 June she was admitted at a local hospital with the complaint of severe stomach pain but she died on 19th of June. According to doctors report cardiovascular pulmonary arrest was the cause of the death however her parents did not agree to carry out autopsy of the body.

A 45 year old woman was paraded naked
The third case of violence was occurred in Neelor Bala village of union council Beer. In this village a woman namely Shahnaz Bibi 45 wife of Muhammad Sarwar was stripped and paraded naked in the village alleys on June 7. She was punished for her son’s“offence” who, along with his cousin Rashid, was accused of having illicit relation with a married woman Shumaial w/o Suleman. The woman got pregnant and her husband divorced her on the decision of a jirga headed by a local landlord Bahseer Abbasi. The jirga also reportedly instigated Suleman and his brothers Manzoor, Imran and Arslan for settling scores with the Shahnaz’s family. Four brothers also set on fire the house of Rashid who had already fled the village out of the fear of backlash.
Woman was approached by the officials of SAHARA, HDO and RDP organizations and her statement was recorded before the press and in the court. With active advocacy the victim women was relocated to the official residence of district government where she was provided with police security and three times meals. Alleged rape victim Shumaila was also approached and two police cops were also got deployed at her residence in village Bandi Mughlan for her security.
All the victim women are being given the facility of free legal assistance and the case was likely to come into trial within couple of weeks and the victims would be represented by the legal committee of above three organizations.

We heartedly request Govt. bodies, civil society organizations and media for the collective efforts to support these victims. All of these victims and their families are in need of legal and social protection, financial and livelihood rehabilitation and compensation against their social disgrace.
Together we can pressurize Govt. bodies, judiciary and law enforcing agencies for the fair and unbiased trial which could enable victims and their families in accessing justice and lead culprits towards due punishment; otherwise this wave of brutality against women would remain endless…

M. Rafique
SAHARA Development Foundation
Naseem Town, Sector B
Sawat mill colony
Haripur (KPK) Pakistan