Islamabad - Pakistan People’s Party leader Senator Farhatullah Babar Friday said that intolerance and violence against women is increasing in Pakistan.

Speaking at an event organised by the National Commission on Status of Women here on combating violence against women, the lawmaker identified two main areas of violence.

One, he said, was the security driven violence such as that of missing persons, dead bodies and the violence in Guantanamo Bay-like internment centres. “It is the women and children who suffer most when their men disappear mysteriously,” he said.

The second category was the belief driven violence in which case the rich and the poor alike were beheaded. This violence goes far beyond being accused of blasphemy as the victim cannot find a defence council, he said.

Babar said that the largest variety of violence took place against women ranging from honour killing, gang rape and use acid-throwing - occurring in all geographical regions of the country.

“It is a kitchen stove in the Punjab, a pesticide in South Punjab, an axe in Sindh and guns everywhere else. A new and unheard kind of violence was invented by a holy man when he inserted a red hot iron rod in his wife’s abdomen,” he contended.

Babar proposed a Special Public Prosecutor for crimes against women and demanded a ‘National Register of Embarrassment’ for heinous crimes against women containing details of  crimes, status of prosecution and the status of the case to serve as data base for cogent action to end impunity.

“Local governments with women participation can play an effective role in combating violence against women, he said, and called for the implementation of NCSW recommendations pertaining to reserved seats for women at all levels,” he added.

Lack of access to justice, broken criminal justice system, jirga (tribal court) that exclude and degrade women and misapplication of Qisas (revenge) laws had further compounded violence against women, he said.

“Of course, pardon can be granted under the Qisas law but only after conviction. It is a miscarriage of justice and misinterpretation of the law to accept pardons even before conviction,” he maintained.

Later speaking to journalists, Babar said that to fight crimes against women the society must recognize their economic rights, the right to own land, the right to inheritance and equal wages for women.

“The draft constitution of October 1950 contained clear cut provisions for ending all forms of torture and also for equal wages for women. But both provisions were deleted in the draft Constitution finalized in 1956,” he pointed out.

He added: “If a woman has an independent legal status then wherefrom the question of wali (guardian) arises in so far her choice of marriage is concerned.”