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Pakistan and Rights of Women

Updated on March 9, 2022
MG Singh profile image

MG is an air warrior with a distinguished career and now a corporate advisor, writer, and intrepid traveler and novelist

Women in Pakistan

On 25th March 2012, a 33-year-old Pakistani woman Fakhra Younus committed suicide in Rome by jumping from her apartment. Fakhra died but her tale points to an extremely insecure existence for women in Pakistan.

Twelve years back Fakhra’s ex-husband Bilal Khar poured acid over her body. He did this dastardly act and watched as Fakhira writhed in agony. Bilal Khar belongs to the elite and powerful group in Pakistan, which wields tremendous power. His father Ghulam Mustapha Khar was governor of Punjab

Bilal Khar

Bilal Khar had met Fakhra who was a dancer in the red light district of Karachi. He was in his mid-thirties and thrice married. She was a young teenager and it was an unlikely romance. They were married for 3 years when Fakhra left him because of physical abuse by her husband. The marriage soured and Khar took his revenge by pouring acid over Fakhra in May 2000.

Charges were framed against Bilal Khar, but he was acquitted of all charges. It was rumored that his political connections helped him.


Fakhra was taken in by the Italian government and taken to Rome for treatment as a humanitarian gesture, but 12 operations down the line with no hope of recovery disheartened Fakhra and she committed suicide. Fakhra’s is not the sole acid throwing case in Pakistan. The Aurat Foundation a women’s rights organization in Pakistan has come out with figures that are startling, to say the least. As per this foundation in 2011, there were 8500 acid attacks on women in Pakistan. These figures are on the lower side and the actual count may be higher as many cases are not reported.

Acid throwing cases are a sad commentary on women's status and rights in Pakistan and point to gender inequality that the UNO and other organizations must take note of.

Last word

Many years have passed but there does not seem to be any change in the status of women in Pakistan. Pakistan remains a male-dominated society and matters were made worse when General Zia Ul-Haq the dictator of Pakistan introduced the Hudood ordinance. This ordinance took away crimes like rape from the purview of the Pakistan Penal Code and made them subject to the Sharia law. The Sharia law has a requirement of four witnesses and a woman's evidence is considered as half of a man. It effectively means that a crime of rape against a woman will never be proved.

The latest on this is the famous Aurat March which has just taken place in Pakistan about a week back. The march has come with the slogan "Mera Jism, Meri Marzi( My body, my wish) The march is a good omen at least to bring to the notice of the world that women in Pakistan have no rights at all. There have been cases of this march being stoned and it had to be guarded by the police. This shows the true face of Pakistan


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