A report issued by the Progressive Women’s Association (PWA) reveals that about 300 Pakistani women are burned to death each year by their husbands or their husbands’ families, and the violence is increasing.
According to PWA co-coordinator Shahnaz Bukhari, domestic violence is rampant in Pakistan. “Every second, a Pakistani woman is the victim or a direct or indirect form of mental or physical violence, leading to heinous crimes against them including rape, murder, chopping of limbs or being burned alive,” declared Bukhari.
Yet the police rarely file charges. Some families will claim that a wife was killed by an exploding stove or another burning accident. “They opt for burning because the chances of prosecution are less,” explained Anne Kleening of the United Nations gender program in Pakistan.
The PWA will submit its report, which documents the murders of over a dozen women in graphic detail, to Pakistan’s Parliament. The group will also launch an intensive campaign to pressure lawmakers into drafting legislation which would create and fund domestic violence shelters and provide women with legal and financial assistance. PWA is also urging hospitals to allocate resources toward the treatment of burn victims.