HBWWF rallies against Kasur incident, demands ample measures to stop rape, harassment

KARACHI: Against the inhumane incident of rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl in Kasur, the Home Based Women Workers Federation held protest demonstrations in Karachi, Hyderabad, Hala, Shahpur Chakar and other cities on Saturday.

The central Karachi rally was held outside the Karachi Press Club as HBWWF general secretary Zehra Khan led it and scores of people belonging to different walks of life, including home-based women workers, attended it.

The speakers said that the Kasur incident was continuity of the exploitation that women and children have been suffering for long. Neither the state nor the society played its role seriously to end the abuse. Now it has become a custom that after such an incident, the government seems shaking a system for a while but in vain. This depicts that our law, constitution, security institutions and social norms have failed in protecting children. The society out of its hypocrisy and so-called beliefs is still deliberately not acknowledging cancer that has been affecting the women and children lives and subsequently fails in protecting them.

The speakers said that the sexual assaults and unwanted advances have ruined the ethical grounds. Today the chief justice, chief minister and other heads of the administrative and political institutions seems in the urge of taking emergency measures which implies that they have failed in coming up with a comprehensive policy to end the abuse in society. Should the political parties who are trying to champion the campaign on Kasur incident have raised voice against the burial of five women alive in Balochistan, the murder of Tania Khaskheli in Dadu, the naked parade incident in Dera Ismail Khan and others similar cases then the situation could have been different and the incident may have been averted.

They added that while the incidents call for justice and taking the culprits to tasks, it also points out the repeated condemnable failures of the state institutions responsible to provide justice, security and maintaining law and order.

The protesters demanded justice for the Kasur girl and others who fell prey to sexual predators in the society and insisted that programs and debates on the issue should be held in media and educational institutions.

They added that the dictatorial moves to provide religious cover to the feudal system must end. Biased and discriminatory laws against women, jirgas, tribal and feudalistic customs should end, the educational institution should include sexual harassment topics in their curriculum. A child protection bureau should be established in every district and strict laws should be made against the sexual harassment and they should be implemented.

Those who spoke at the rally include HBWWF general secretary Zehra Khan, Saira Feroz, Shabnam Azam, Aini Ayub, National Trade Union Federation deputy general secretary Nasir Mansoor and others.