4 Times When ‘Women’ Went Against the Aurat March Charter of demands

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Aurat March in Pakistan is an empowerment movement for the women. It consists of protests organized in various cities of the country. Its purpose is to ask for women’s equality in a patriarchal society. Its charter of demands includes end to violence and sexual harassment, right to economic justice, reproductive rights, minority rights, political participation of women among others. But unfortunately, there have been quite a few number of incidents when women themselves went against these demands and resorted to extreme violence. Some of them are listed below:

1. The Maid Story in Lahore Cantt

In 2014, a ten-year-old domestic worker was tortured to death in a house in a gated locality in Lahore Cantt. Iram Ramzan was the name of the ten-year-old. The lady of the house, Nasira Bibi, confessed before the police that she beat the child for allegedly stealing Thirty-thousand rupees from the house.

The family took the girl to the Services Hospital, a public health facility which offers free-of-cost emergency. During the long commute from the house to the hospital, the girl succumbed to her injuries. The hospital also confirmed signs of physical abuse on her body. Moreover, she was said to have been beaten with an iron rod.

Iram’s (left) widowed mother, Zubaida Bibi (right), said, “I belong to a poor family but I want justice for my daughter.” Iram was the eldest of five siblings. Ironically, the village where this horrifying incident took place is called Moza Jindraakha. The name means “the place where life is protected.”

2. The Case of Teenage Maid Uzma Bibi

Sixteen-year-old maid Uzma Bibi’s was found murdered and dumped in a city canal. This incident took place last year in Lahore. The battered body of 16-year-old servant Uzma Bibi was found dumped in a canal and her wealthy employer was charged with the murder.

Police said that Uzma was a resident of Hanjarwal and was paid Rs4,000 every month.She died after blows to the head with a kitchen utensil. She had been working for the family in Lahore for eight months when she was killed in January last year.

The sickest part about it is the fact that she was killed over eating a bite of food from a fellow human being’s plate, forced by her hunger.

The Government soon took action. Police arrested bank officer Mahrukh, her daughter Aima and her sister-in-law Rehana for brutally murdering the sixteen-year-old Uzma. The three women had brutally tortured and murdered the maid just for helping herself to some meat from a curry. Two days before the maid’s body was discovered from a drain in Iqbal Town, Mahrukh called Uzma’s family. She told them that the girl had fled the house after committing a robbery.

3. The Recovery of a Teenage Maid from a TV anchor’s Home

A teenage maid was handed over to her father by the court. She was recovered from illegal custody of a news TV anchor. This incident also took place in Lahore.

Muhammad Munir of Nankana Sahib had filed a habeas corpus petition for the recovery of his 15-year-old daughter. She had been employed by the anchorperson at her residence in Bahria Town, Lahore. The petitioner alleged that the anchor had not allowed his daughter to see her family for the last six months and kept her in illegal detention. He said the anchor also used to physically torture his daughter.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Hafeezur Rehman Chaudhry had directed the Station House Officer of Sundar police to recover the detainee and produce her before the court. In compliance with the order, the police recovered Sonia. The fifteen-year-old was being held by Gharidah Farooqi, an anchor at Express TV, at the house in Lahore’s Bahria Town.

4. The Tayyaba Torture Case

Islamabad High Court in April 2018 handed down a one year sentence to Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife Maheen Zafar . The sentence was for torturing a minor girl employed as domestic help in Islamabad.

The case of Tayyaba, the young ten-year-old domestic worker employed in the convicts’ household, first came to light after photos of the tortured child began circulating on social media in 2016. She was rescued from their residence with visible wounds on December 28, 2016. The first information report was filed against her employers a day later.

Although Khan had reached a compromise with Tayyaba’s parents on January 2, 2017. Fortunately. the SC took suo motu notice of the matter two days later. He gave a strict warning that “no agreements can be reached in matters concerning fundamental human rights”.

 

  • All of these stories illustrates some of the worst aspects of Pakistani society. In fact, the grim tales ticks all the boxes: the grinding poverty among swathes of the population, the smug sense of entitlement among the elite, and a system that perpetuates the status quo through incompetence or complicity.

It is honestly depressing to see that the very same Aurat March that is a means to raise voice for the oppressed women in this patriarchal society might also be home to these rotten human beings, irrespective of their genders, who don’t even show mercy to children. Being women, go against the charter of demands to raise their fellow gender from oppression.

One can only hope that justice will eventually be done. Also, the influential status of the suspects and their connections within law enforcement don’t affect the outcome of any cases like this in the future.

 

Read also: Pakistan’s “Most Wild And Beautiful Places” as Highlighted by National Geographic

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