Protests in Pakistan over police response to park rape

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Feb. 12 (UPI) — The largest public park in Pakistan‘s capital city was the site of the violent gang rape of a 24-year-old woman on Thursday and protesters are calling on law enforcement to step up its efforts to protect women.

Two armed assailants allegedly raped the woman and threatened to attack her again if she spoke of the incident after they cornered her in Fatima Jinnah park, The Guardian reported.

Police then shared information about her, including her name and contact information, with the media.

The incident was the second high-profile attack in the park, located in Islamabad, since 2018. Following the 2018 attack, the city was ordered to install more lighting in the park.

In response to the latest incident, Islamabad Police warned park visitors to “limit themselves to lighted areas.”

“The negligence from police is evident — [they are] not taking the case seriously and have failed to arrest the culprits, even a week after the incident,” said Dr. Farzana Bari, a women’s rights activist, according to The Guardian. “It is their responsibility to make public places safer for women.”

Since law enforcement shared information about Thursday’s victim with the press, the Pakistani government issued an ordinance prohibiting reporting of the incident on broadcast television.

In October, Pakistan’s SAMAA TV Investigation Unit reported that on average at least one woman is raped in Pakistan every two hours and a small portion are ever reported.

The data compiled from the state of Punjab’s home department and Ministry of Human Rights revealed that 21,900 women reported being raped between 2017 and 2021.

During that time, SAMAA TV said there were 1,301 cases of sexual violence against women heard and 2,856 charges filed, but only about 4% of cases ever went to trial and 0.2% led to convictions.


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