Nasreen Irshad, a legal advocate, was kidnapped at gunpoint from her place of work on August 15, near Dipalpur Kutcheri. Now, 10 days later, she was found in a field near Mailsi—semi-conscious, gagged and tied up. Stricken with trauma, a video of her struggling to speak and identify herself propped up on social media, highlighting, once again, the kind of impunity that is associated to kidnapping, rape and torture.

Time and time again instances like Nasreen’s are reported and the authorities are alerted, the media demands for justice just as public outcry ensures that officials take note of the importance of reforming the system to empower victims of such horrendous crimes. However, all this effort is usually short-lived and, more often than not, dissipates. Until a new case is reported, the previous one loses momentum and is ultimately forgotten. Clearly, a much more permanent solution, one that is centred around prevention and accountability, is needed.

Not only does Nasreen stand for the thousands of women left unprotected by the law and authorities but she also brings to light the scrutiny and violence that lawyers are subjected to. Throughout the course of the last few months, five were shot dead and three were kidnapped—making their profession one of the most increasingly vulnerable to attacks in Pakistan. For individuals who are tightly knit with the law, focusing on practising and upholding it, it is imperative for the law to come to their aid as well. As such, the government needs to focus on ensuring that appropriate and timely measures are taken for each incident reported.

Fortunately, a special team tasked with finding the suspects and charging them for the week-long torture of an innocent lawyer has been created by the police. However, judging from the state Nasreen was found in, it is evident that abductors act without the fear of consequences. This boldness is something that needs to be countered immediately.