Unless the whole network sponsoring, fostering and manipulating these impressionable minds in their teens and 20’s to their advantage, ruining millions of lives, is broken down, followed by thorough investigations leading to severe punishments as per Islamic law, things will stay the same
It is not the one who is “wronged” who loses the honour, but the one “wrongs” does it forever!
Every nook and corner of Pakistan observed this pain, agony and grave disappointnent since last Tuesday, when an innocent woman got gang-raped right in front of her children on the Highway.
As much as shocking the news was, how Motorway Police denied her help right in the middle of the chaos (sheer negligence and insufficient staff deployment) and how Punjab Police reacted to the situation abruptly, exhibiting total lack of empathy was truly despicable.
The CCPO, Lahore, chose to lecture the affected woman on how she should have chosen the other route (GT Road) and not Motorway and how she should not have embarked on a long journey alone, with her kids, somehow, made it all look like the affected woman’s fault.
This ill-chosen statement issued by the Capital City Police Officer, Lahore at an ill-chosen time gravitated the focus of the discussion from the “real issue” to CCPO’s folly, as good-intentioned as he may have been.
Four days down the lane, twelve potential suspects got arrested and DNA profiling began. The first, strong suspect, who eventually turned out to be one of the culprits, Abid Ali, had only been released on bail only two weeks ago.
The 27 years old, Abid Ali, had already been accused of eleven such individual and gang rape cases, already, and the fact that he did it again, in a much filthier manner, along with his partner, targeting the innocent woman, stuck on the Highway, right in front of her children, breaking the driver’s seat window with stones and sticks and dragging her and her children out mercilessly, only strengthened the public demand to hang the rapists publicly.
Last evening, as the news of the second culprit, Shafqat, having been arrested after his confession about being Abid’s partner in not only this particular case, but eleven other rape cases and multiple robbery cases, broke in, Punjab Police found out that there was a strong nexus between them and some politically influential people.
Same ironic observation was made when the little seven-year old Zainab was mecilessly tortured, raped and killed in Kasur, on January 4, 2018. I remember how some strong political figures belonging to the then ruling party were accused of being the saviors of the gang of rapists. The lack of motivation exhibited by the Police to pursue Zainab’s case further strengthened the suspicion.
Prime Minister, Imran Khan, in his last night’s interview to one of the leading Pakistani Television Channels clearly stated, “Criminals like the ones who gang raped the innocent woman on the Highway should be ‘hanged publicly’. No mercy for the rapists”.
With Premier’s bold and unambiguous take on the issue, the nationwide debate on whether hanging the rapists publicly is an idea violating the human rights or not, was put to rest, to a great extent. Not only did his strong statement but also the historical reference of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq hanging a child rapist publicly, in Lahore, back in 1982, strengthened those who were in the favour of the notion.
A simple question that one tends to ask those who believe that death penalty violates human rights of the criminals:
“Human rights are applicable on humans. Does the one who mercilesly rapes and kills the vulnerable deserve to be called ‘human’?”
There is no doubt about the fact that strong policing and prosecution with complete certainty of punishment where it is due and law and order being upheld at all times, at all costs, is the ultimate solution that any civilized society would like to pursue, however, keeping in view the carrot and stick mindset of the nation, as a whole, it will not be wrong to state that unless there is a strong fear of being punished while the whole world gazes at its wrath & severity, crime rate is bound to rise exponentially, as is the case today.
Unless the whole network sponsoring, fostering and manipulating these impressionable minds in their teens and 20’s to their advantage, ruining millions of lives, is broken down, followed by thorough investigations leading to severe punishments as per Islamic law, things will stay the same.
Unless all Majeed Achakzai’s know that the man their car hits and tears down into pieces will not be responsible for “hurting” their car and that the powerful elite bows before the law, as do the poor, nothing will change.
The State needs to ensure that the educational institutions make it a point to start instilling this fundamental understanding of how women, children and the elderly are the “collective responsibility” of the State and the society, in young minds from the very first step in their schools. A complete behavioural overhaul based on a paradigm shift in the societal thought process is the need of the hour, where victim blaming or false pretense of being a victim, as observed in some recent cases, has no room.
Let’s teach our boys to respect, honour and protect every woman, the way girls are taught to “save” themselves. How about teaching our boys to make the vulnerable of the society feel “less vulnerable”, for a change?!
And last but not the least, it is not the one who is “wronged” who loses the honour, but the one “wrongs”. Here is to better times. Pakistan Zindabad!
Maleeha Hashmey is a socio-political analyst and corporate trainer, represnting Pakistan on International Media. She tweets at @maleehahashmey