Land and property rights

Around 90% of the Pakistani households are headed by men and most female-headed households belong to the poor strata of the society.

Women lack ownership of productive resources. Despite women’s legal rights to own and inherit property from their families, there are very few women who have access and control over these resources.
See what Islam says about women

Crimes against women

The violence against women in Pakistan is a major problem. Feminists and women’s groups in Pakistan have criticised the Pakistani government and its leaders for whitewashing the persecution of women and trying to suppress information about their plight in the international arena. Skepticism and biased attitudes against women’s complaints of violence are common among prosecutors, police officers and medicolegal doctors in Pakistan. According to reports from 1990s, such complaints often face delayed/mishandled processing and inadequate/improper investigations.

Sexual violence

Rape is one of the most common crimes against women but grossly underreported due to the shame attached to the victim. Many cases of sexual harassment and acid attacks have also been reported. It is used as an illegal way to punish women who are deemed to have deviated from marital norms Marital rape is not recognised as a criminal offence in Pakistani law. Many cases of rape in police custody have also been reported. According to Report of the Commission of Inquiry for Women (1997), 70 percent of women in police stations were subjected to sexual and physical violence.


Trafficking of women is on the rise in Pakistan. Foreign women from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar are brought to Pakistan and sold.

Dowry abuse

Main article: Dowry

Many cases of bride burning due to dowry issues have been reported in Pakistan. The wife is typically doused with kerosene, gasoline, or other flammable liquid, and set alight, leading to death by fire.

In some cases, accidents are engineered (such as the tampering of a kitchen stove to cause victim’s death) or the victims are set ablaze, claimed to be yet another accident or suicide.

According to a 1999 report, of the sixty “bride-burning” cases that made it to the prosecution stage (though 1,600 cases were actually reported), only two resulted in convictions.However dowry abuse cases are low after 2001. The BBC reckoned roughly 300 Pakistani brides were burnt to death in 1999.

Domestic violence

Main article: Domestic violence in Pakistan

Domestic violence is not explicitly prohibited in Pakistani domestic law and most acts of domestic violence are encompassed by the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance. The police and judges often tend to treat domestic violence as a non-justiciable, private or family matter or, an issue for civil courts, rather than criminal courts.

A 1987 study conducted by the Women’s Division and another study by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in 1996 suggested that domestic violence takes place in approximately 80 percent of the households in the country.Domestic violence occurs in forms of beatings, sexual violence or torture, mutilation, acid attacks and burning the victim alive.

Acid throwing

Acid throwing (acid attackor vitriolage) is a form of violent assault. Perpetrators of these attacks throw acid at their victims (usually at their faces), burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones. The consequences of these attacks include blindness and permanent scarring of the face and body. These attacks are most common in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other nearby countries.According to Taru Bahl and M.H. Syed, 80% of victims of these acid attacks are female and almost 40% are under 18 years of age.

It is also used to illegally settle family disputes in many other secular places and as a way of settling financial or property issues.

Pakistan had 48 registered cases 2009, but only 1/3 attacks are officially reported. About 150 acid throwing incidents of nationally every year of which about 50 occur in Balochistan in 2009.

A Pakistani government report, “Acid Terrorism Against Women in Pakistan”, revealed some cases of this horrific crime on 12 December 2009.

pakistan-flood-victims Help flood affectees

The floods in Pakistan have displaced a staggering 20 million people. According the UN, this number exceeds the combined total affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2005 Kashmiri/Pakistani earthquake, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

For contributions and other inquires please contact Sarah Jacob, Director.


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