By: Sana Samad
In Balochistan, women do not have rights of education, health care or any space in politicians, cultural, economic or social fields. Instead of that women are regularly facing discrimination, assault and murder in the name of honor killing. Due to this, Balochistan is the most backward province and is recorded top ranking in Pakistan in terms of maternal mortality, unemployment, and female illiteracy and gender disparities. The condition of women is getting more deteriorated in rural areas of Balochistan where the literacy rate of women is 2 percent which is too much less as compare to 26 percent for the province as whole.
Instead of going backward, in last few decades the Makran division which consists of the Kech, Gwadar and Pangur districts where female’s literacy is growing high as compare to other cities of the province. The main reason of growing female literacy rate is Co-educational private schools where females are getting equal rights. These institutions are working just for educating Baloch and they have successfully produced an educational class of women who today have established themselves as educators, politicians, doctors and other professions. Even, the rural females are migrating into cities to get enrolled in private institutions to be the part of educational societies.
It is unfortunate that due to the threats of the militant groups the parents feared to send their children into schools. A national daily has reported that the dropout rate is an appalling 70 percent, in spite of having education schools and colleges in Makran. That is called the biggest reason of lowest female literacy rate in Balochistan. Leave the ignorance of education in the province, the women are continously suffering from other threats and dying on daily basis. This emphasis that no one is interested to support Baloch females.
In last decade, honor killing has become very common in Balochistan. The women are being killed by their father, brother or other relative members without any reason. The first case of honor killing in Balochistan was reported during 2008, when three teenage girls were buried alive by their brother. According to Aurat Foundation (AF), a non-governmental organization working for women’s rights, hundreds of cases of violence against women are reported in various areas of Balochistan. The recent report estimates that around 187 cases of violence against women were recorded in 2014 compared with 151 cases in 2013. From these whole cases 75 cases of honor killing were reported in 2014.
Instead of growing the cases of violence against women these cases are not being reported nor investigated. When the women journalists have tried to report such cases for the protection of female, they themselves had suffered from threats and could not protect themselves. In rural areas, there is lack of awareness among people and poverty is extremely high. Leave Quetta, or it is very common for women to die during the pregnancy. Every year, around 785 deaths for every 100,000 are recorded as compare to 272 in the rest of the country.
Another rising and alarming problem of women is acid attacks. Acid attack was practiced in 2010 when two sisters from Dalbandin were attacked by acid. Since that number of acid attacks cases have increased rapidly on Balochistan including men on motorcycle throwing acid attack on women and then fleeing. Last year was considered the worst year when around 20 women suffered from acid attack. Since 2010, several females have suffered from acid attacks and some women could not save their lives and some are still suffering from burnt faces.
The low literacy rate, honor killing, acid attacks and maternal mortality have totally changed the women lives into darkness. Still the condition is getting poor and worst day by day. The current Chief Minister of Balochistan should do significant work for the protection of the women. The women should ensure full rights and should not suffer from any problem. They should have freedom to live their own lives in their own ways.
Published in The Balochistan Point on June 18, 2019