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The state’s inertia

Editorial Daily Times

Fundamentalist vigilantes have once again taken to their olddaily times practice of forcing women to stay at home and remind them that if they ever have to venture out, it should not be without a male relative. This group of psychopaths typically hibernates throughout the year and suddenly becomes active when Eid arrives, using it as a convenient occasion.

It is horrific that a religious decree, if one exists, that women cannot step out of their homes without a male relative, could be enforced through the use of criminal force. Four masked men at Sariab Road, Quetta threw acid on four women who were shopping on Monday. In another such incident on Tuesday, another group (or the same?) threw acid on two more women in Mastung. The apparent lack of security in the markets on the occasion of Eid shopping made the task of these criminal misogynists easy, as was their escape. The message is loud and clear: The authorities are not even awake to the need for handling a phenomenon that is not new and has a recurring pattern. Fortunately the targeted women’s injuries seem minor, but such incidents leave a lasting effect on the victims and society at large. We have by now thousands of women in this country whose lives have been made hell by this heinous crime of acid throwing. Parliament in 2011 unanimously passed The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010, which recommends 14 years to life imprisonment and fines of up to Rs one million for such crimes. Though we do find the odd case where the perpetrators have been caught and incarcerated, this does not by any stretch of the imagination make for a dedicated effort to bring such crimes to an end, especially when they are perpetrated by the extremists or religious fanatics.

Balochistan, inflicted by a nationalist insurgency on the one hand, is increasingly in the throes of extremist and sectarian violence too. Incidents of throwing acid on women have been happening for the last three years and not even a single person responsible has been caught. This reduces the law referred to above to not even worth the paper it is written on.
There is a dire need to overcome our myriad security lapses. Allowing opportunities to the culprits to carry on their nefarious activities with impunity is sending the wrong message about the state being in deep inertia when it comes to protecting citizens in general from terrorism, and women in particular from these fanatical misogynist forces dedicated to reducing them to faceless (literally) non-entities. (Courtesy : Daily Times)

Republished in The Balochistan Point on July 23, 2014

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