From Noor to Ayesha – has Pakistan really become a hard place for women to live in?

By: Muhammad Waseem

It has been a few days to 74th Independence Day of Pakistan; a country that believed the way to glory is possible only if women were side by side with men, has changed into a destination with the arduous journey for women. Pakistan, which is ranked 153rd out of 156 countries on the gender parity list (2021), shows how measurable it is to be a woman in this country. Pakistan who only leaves behind Afghanistan in the gender equality index in Asia is a reminder that it is still a long way for this country to get on the track of being a progressive nation. Human rights groups believe most cases of relentless violence on women go unnoticed due to of weak execution of laws and cultural taboos that put a blot on the character of the victim.

The recent series of events that came under the spotlight astounded civil society of country. Noor Mukadam case, where the victim (daughter of Pakistan’s former ambassador)was raped, tormented for hours and then beheaded in her own neighborhood but Pakistani social media brigade was seen moral policing the deceased and justifying the act as punishment of not following core Islamic principles.

Recently a new heart-wrenching case has emerged where an innocent lady Ayesha was groped and her clothes ripped off by a mob of 400 men in Greater Iqbal Park Lahore on independence day. The victim was believed to be making videos with her friends when she was stormed by a mob and assaulted. Studies suggest that cases of violence against women have elevated to an alarming extent. The recent failure of the government to pass the Domestic Violence bill has sparked outrage among human rights elements and has raised the question of whether Pakistan has abandoned its women?

The recent developments in the neighboring country (where radical elements who believe in the supremacy of the only gender that is men) have gained control and the situation of women’s rights in Pakistan can also further deteriorate.

When we can mock feminists for damaging the social fabric of our nation then we must also be able to stand tall with all those women who are victims of brute elements of our society. By the time you read this, there may be another Noor being harassed, assaulted, raped, or even murdered.

The writer is a student of International Relations