.- A priest of the Camillian order in Pakistan has spoken out against the abuse of women in the country, including the growing number of “honor killings.”
According to Father Mushtaq Anjum, M.I., Pakistan “is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women, who often have no voice.”
“The country needs very strong measures which can cover all kinds of violence committed against women,” the priest told Fides news agency in a recent interview. “The rule of law should be there for them in order to protect them.”
The latest findings from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan show a continued rise in the killing of women by their husbands or male relatives.
During 2011 at least 943 Pakistani women were murdered for supposedly bringing disgrace on their families. In some cases the women were raped as a form of punishment before being killed.
Honor killings have significantly increased every year in Pakistan since at least 2008, when 574 women were murdered for this motive. The number rose to 647 in 2009, and again to 791 the following year.
In 2011 and 2012, Pakistan's parliament passed laws aimed at stopping abuses of women such as disfigurement with acid, forced marriage, and prevention of inheritance within families.
But widespread domestic violence is still tolerated, regarded as a private matter within the family and not as a crime. Violence against women also goes unpunished in many cases where it is committed by a male relative.
Many women, Fr. Anjum noted, can relate to the ordeal of Mukhtar Mai, who was raped by multiple perpetrators in 2002 in retaliation for the behavior of her brother.
While many Pakistani rape victims commit suicide, Mai instead spoke out on behalf of victims. In 2011, however, 5 of her 6 alleged rapists were acquitted by the country's Supreme Court.