Discriminatory treatment with women in rural Pakistan

Not unlike state, the electronic and print media of Pakistan have made girls of rural areas of the country target of discriminatory treatment. The fact is that the incidents of honour killings, child marriages, forced marriages, rapes, and injustices experienced by girls or women in urban regions of the country are highlighted vigorously and enthusiastically by both the national electronic and print media, while stories of the same forms of violence faced by girls and women in rural regions of the country are not.

In December 2016, in Islamabad, a housemaid named Tayyaba (10) was tortured by additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife. The incident sparked remarkable debate by the leading analysts on almost all of the TV channels in Pakistan. A plethora of reports of Tayyaba’s story had been published by all the regional and national newspapers with objective to highlight the case. Moreover, not less than 200 columns and blogs were written in the daily nationals with valuable suggestions for solution of the problem. As a result, the victim girl was provided with justice, punishing the perpetrators.

In the first week of May, 2017, a 12-year-old, housemaid hailing from Kandh Kot was allegedly gang-raped in Malir, Karachi by seven persons including the employer, his two sons and nephews after she was given some intoxicating substance. Forced by the extreme poverty, the girl had been working as a maid for a few months at the Karachi residence of Rahib Sorhiani. On May 5, immediately after the incident occurred, the employer had informed the victim’s family that she was not well and that she should be taken to her home for treatment. However, the child recounted her ordeal at her employer’s house only after it transpired during her medical examination in a local hospital that she was subjected to gang-rape. But shockingly, the girl’s story has not been given even little coverage by the national media, despite the fact that this girl’s case is more appalling, demoralising and devastating as compared to Tayyaba’s.

Because of not being highlighted in the regional and national media, the incidents of honour killings, child marriages, rapes, gang-rapes, kidnappings and other injustices against women occurring frequently in rural areas of Pakistan are suppressed by the influential accused using intimidating tactics with the support of some black sheep in police department and other responsible institutions at local level. This situation of anarchism encourages perpetrators to carry these devilish activities out against girls and women with no sense of fear. Therefore, it can be concluded that the national media along with all other responsible institutions of the state is somewhat responsible for the ever-growing violence inflicted upon females in rural Pakistan.

The same way, on May 28, Sardar Taj Muhammad Domki, senior politician and influential feudal lord, Urz Muhammad Golo and 13 other influential persons tried to settle this gang-rape case through a Jirga. The jirgas are infamous for not dispensing justice to victims. Though the persons involved in the Jirga have been taken into custody by police after the registration of an FIR on behalf of the state for settling the matter in a Jirga yet they would leave no stone unturned to put pressure on the victim’s family to accept settlement and withdraw the case.

If this gang-rape victim had belonged to any one of the urban big cities like Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi, her story would have attracted analysts, anchor persons, writers, bloggers, and editors of almost all newspapers, including leading daily nationals.

As the media or press that influences activities of the whole machinery of governments and informs general public about all forms of events occurring in any part of the world, therefore it is obligatory upon it that it should represent all citizens equally, transparently and honestly. It will enable them to receive justice for violence against them.

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