ISLAMABAD: A 21-year-old American social media activist and vlogger was allegedly raped by two men in the Punjab province of Pakistan last week. The incident has sparked outrage among Pakistan netizens who demanded stricter action from authorities in the country.
When the story surfaced online, it caused outrage among netizens who condemned the 'shameless' act, demanding strict action for the perpetrators. The netizens pointed out that 'if Pakistanis aren't safe in this country, how can foreigners be'. They said the cause for such crimes is a 'lack of justice', Dawn reported.
A user wrote that the country is worthy of being branded with "the symbol of disgrace".
Another user tweeted, "Really ashamed of what happened to her. We are already 83rd in tourism ranking and 26th in tourist safety index (0-33 most dangerous). Culprits should be punished but society should also stop accepting any such heinous acts and the people involved."
"I do not know where are we going as a nation. We failed to teach our youngsters to respect all women. We failed to protect our girls. Our politicians are only concerned about playing musical chairs," wrote another user.
The US national was sexually assaulted at a hotel room in Dera Ghazi Khan's Fort Monroe hill station on the night of July 17, when she was on a trip. According to police officials, the woman was on a tourist visa to Pakistan and had been living in the country for the past seven months.
Deputy Commissioner of Dera Ghazi Khan Anwar Baryar said, "The American girl had come to Fort Monroe from Karachi on the invitation of her social media friend Muzmal Sipra, whose house she visited on Sunday in Rajanpur district of Punjab, some 550 kilometres from Lahore."
The incident came to light after the victim filed a First Information Report (FIR) at the Border Military Police (BMP) station at the Fort Munro hill station. The FIR stated that the woman was raped by Muzmal Sipra and Shehzad of Rajanpur on the night of July 17 in a hotel room.
The complainant also said she had received threats from Sipra to not pursue legal proceedings against them.
The BMP registered the case against Sipra, Shehzad and Azan Khosa of Dera Ghazi Khan under Sections 376 and 292b of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The alarming frequency of cases against women in Pakistan poses a great threat to women in the country as well as raises concerns for the authorities.
A recent report compiled by the Sustainable Social Development Organisation (SSDO) and the Centre for Research, Development and Communication pointed out a growing trend in violence against women in Pakistan along with the increasing number of domestic violence cases in the country.
According to the report, a total of 157 women were kidnapped, 112 were a victim of physical assault and 91 women were raped across Pakistan in the month of June.
Punjab reported 53 rape cases, followed by 16 cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 14 cases in Sindh, six cases in Islamabad, and two cases in Balochistan.
The capital of Punjab province, Lahore reported a large number of cases of sexual assault in the previous week. The alarming frequency of the cases prompted the Pakistan police to review the overall performance of the Gender-Based Violence Cell.
It was earlier reported that Pakistan's Global Gender Gap Index has worsened over time. In 2017, Pakistan ranked 143, slipping to 148 in 2018.
According to the last year's 'Global Gender Gap Report 2021', Pakistan ranked 153 out of 156 countries on the gender parity index, that is, among the last four.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's (HRCP) recent report said that in Pakistan, at least 11 rape cases are reported daily with over 22,000 such incidents reported to police in the last six years (2015-21)