KARACHI: Expressing deep concern over the growing incidence of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation of children and mute response of law enforcement agencies, the city chapter of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) hascalled upon the government to take notice of the situation and take strict action againstperpetrators.
In a statement released on Monday, the association stated that it believed that gender-based violence was a health issue and that women and girl children should not have to endure any form of physical, mental, emotional, sexual, or economic violence.
It stated that cases of violence against women and girl children were increasing across the country.
Unfortunately, however, these incidents of brutality had attracted little attention in society at large and the victim families couldn`t even get the opportunity to get their complaint registered at the police station.
The PMA, it said, had receivednumerous reports of violence against girl children, who were forced to `work in the houses of judges, officers, and wealthy individuals such as bureaucrats`.
`A recent incident took place in Thatta where a young girl was brutally murdered in the name of honour killing. Shockingly, no FIR was registered against the culprits. The girl had been raped and impregnated by a feudal lord before being murdered by her uncle.
`Another distressing case that occurred was the brutal rape and murder of a young girl child by a man in his haveli in Khairpur. Sadly, no justice has been served to the victim in this case either,` the association stated.
It also highlighted the issue of gen-der-based violence during the 2022 floods `when there was an alarming increase in various forms of violence, including physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional, in the tent cities`.
`There was also a rise in child marriages, teenage pregnancies, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, urinary tract infections, and maternal mortalities.
Women and young girls who had lost their families were left at the mercy of extended family members who became their decision-makers,` it said.
It referred to several reports prepared by local and international nonprofit organisations showing the miserable state of Pakistani women and apathy of state institutions.It cited statistics from Pakistan`s demographic and health survey, which revealed that 39 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 experienced physical and emotional abuse from their spouses.
Another study by the United Nations Population Fund indicated that 80pc of married women in Pakistan faced some form of physical or sexual violence from their husbands, while the remaining 20pc have perpetrators in the form of ex-husbands, relatives and law enforcers.
It demanded that the government take responsibility and hold those responsible for the cruel acts accountable. `We call for justice to be served to all survivors and victims, as well as the promotion of gender equity in all matters,` it said.