Sexual violence makes Pakistan a global frontline in the battle to save women and girls. But the problem extends to hatreds spawned by history and religion.
The sad gang rape of a six year old Hindu girl, class one student, in broad daylight in the Sindh capital might end up having an impact beyond the country’s borders. Although an internal matter, this particular incident concerns Indians in important ways. It should also concern Pakistan’s other neighbors like Sri Lanka, China, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Pakistan is a country beset by virulent hatreds of all types: political, historical, religious and social. These hatreds are so potent they led to 21st century’s first genocide. More than 20,000 Hindus and Sikhs were butchered and burned across Mirpur,, a major city (now) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
The brutal murder of 20,000 Hindus and Sikhs (followed by the brutal killing of half a million Hindus and Sikhs in 1947 partition) spread over just three days was no small matter, because the country has just came in to existence. It may come closely on the heels of what happened in Bengal on the Jinnah’s call to kill Hindus in Direct Action Day. The fact that almost all of the 4000 killed were Indian Hindus; men, women, elderly and children, eliminated on the streets by mobs representing the majority religious group, meant that this was a ghastly incident of ethnic cleansing and religious extermination.
One way to gauge the amount of hate that motivated the Pakistanis is to look at the type of criminal act that was repeatedly committed during the Kargil war. Captured Indian petrol party was tortured to death and their bodies including genitals mutilated. A recent example is the attack of Pakistani Army inside Indian territory and beheading of Indian army men. This seems to be inspired by Pakistan Army’s ideological brothers Talibans.
Due to constant persecution, Pakistani Christians had to demand a separate state for them selves. It is a fashion in Pakistan to accuse anyone of blasphemy to settle the score and unfortunately Pakistani Christians have been the worst victim of this draconian law that awards death sentence to any one accused of insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad. Even little children have been accused of blasphemy in the land of pure.
The Umerkot gang rape and similar atrocities against women and minorities are not isolated incidents. Some foreign policies pursued by Pakistani governments were also driven by religious or social hatreds preexisting in Pakistani Islamic society. Rape is being used as a weapon to convert Hindus and Christian girls to Islam in Pakistan. Watch this video where 2.5 year old Christian girl was raped after her family refused to convert to Islam:
In less than seventy years since the creation of Pakistan by Britain in 1947, Islamabad managed to provoke a war and several border clashes with Iran, four wars with India, fight a proxy war in Indian Kashmir and indirectly interfere in Bangladesh.
The atrocities committed by Pakistan Army in 1971 of what is now Bangladesh is the perfect example of how the combustible mix of Pakistani hatreds poisoned its foreign policy.
In 1971, More than 50,000 Pakistani soldiers, together with Urdu speaking pro-Pakistanis, raped 200,000 Bengali Women, killed around a million Bengali speaking Muslims and all kind of Hindus in East Pakistan (Bangladesh). The reason for this worst genocide after the Holocaust, Urdu speaking Pakistanis could not accept that Bengali speaking Muslims are more progressive, intellectual, civilized than them. Despite of Muzib-ur-Rehman winning the election, he was denied the right to rule Pakistan because of the complex Punjabi (ruling elites of Pakistan). In the name of Operation Searchlight, Pakistan Army committed the worst genocide of the 20th century. The Punjabi Pakistani were habitual of killing Hindus but killing Bengali Muslims only shows the hatred they had for their culturally superior non-Punjabi citizens.
PUNJABI-SPEAKING PAKISTANIS: WHO TO BLAME?
It would be unfair to associate all Pakistanis with this sordid record. In fact, evidence points to one group of Pakistanis: the Punjabi-speakers of northern Pakistan.
The multifaceted social and political hatreds in Pakistan are linked to the Punjabi-speaking minority, about a third of the Pakistani population.
The Punjabi-speakers are a powerful, rich and arrogant minority, for a reason. Most Punjabis are in Army which has ruled (and is still ruling) Pakistan indirectly ever since it came in to existence. Also, Punjabis are bureaucrats and political leaders. This is the reason that Balochistan province who is around 40% of Pakistan in area and is most rich in terms of natural resources is also the poorest state in Pakistan. All the gas, petroleum product and electricity produced in Balochistan is used by Punjab province. A gas cylinder in Balochistan costs 8 times taht of what it costs in Punjab. Interesting thing, the gas is exported to Punjab from Balochistan.
Other Pakistanis often hold Punjabi-speakers responsible for India’s social and governance problems and for wars with neighbors, for prolonging the Kashmir conflict, and for feeding hate against Pakistan’s Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Baloch and Pashtun minorities. [Read this and this as examples.]
If you look at the rapes reported in 2012 in Pakistan, you will be find that majority of it took place in Punjab. Note that I have used the world “reported” because in orthodox Islamic society such as Pakistan, victim has to produce 4 male witness of her rape and if she cannot, then she is punished for adultery. This is the main reason why 90% of rape cases in Pakistan are not even reported. Also, I have not counted the rapes taht took place in Balochistan province by the hands of Pakistan Army.
The Punjabi-speaking upper class culture looks down at other Pakistanis. Women in this culture do not enjoy respect. There have been numerous cases of gangs rapes and sexual assault in Punjab but culprits were never punished.
Balochistan, the new Bangladesh, is the worst affected by the Punjabism. Children killed, women raped, men abducted. It is all a repeat of 1971. And like 1971, Punjabi Pakistan is busy in blaming “foreign hands” in this situation.
The outrage created by the liberals of Pakistan in the Umerkot rape shows that it still has hope. All it has to do is to eliminate the hate culture of Punjabi Pakistan.