It is a travesty that the judicial system in Pakistan fails to provide justice and influential suspects either get bailed or go scot-free. Pakistan reports at least eleven rape cases daily but hardly any has reached its logical conclusion where the culprit has faced the consequences.
The turnaround in the case of a young couple who were sexually assaulted and filmed while being stripped shows how the judicial system is vulnerable. The incident, which was considered a test case, has been cast into oblivion after the victim retracted her statement and refused to pursue the case. The state has decided to take the case forward but it remains to see the suspects will be punished for the heinous crime.
Experts have raised concern over the rising number of rape and sexual assault cases, saying that such incidents create an environment of fear for women and girls. The police and investigative agencies are often blamed for their negligence in such incidents. To make matters worse, the archaic judicial system seems to favour the culprits while society often blames the victim and frame men as naturally violent. The result is that Pakistan has a conviction rate of less than one percent.
The case of a woman who was raped on a motorway shocked the nation and made global headlines. We were compelled to reconsider if the country was safe for women. However, the progress in the case has been negligent and even the prime minister has sought a progress report on the case. The low conviction rate and long hearings in courts make people lose faith in the judicial system.
Sexual assault cases occur around the world but it is necessary to prosecute the culprits. The most important thing is that the victim should not be blamed. It is the state’s responsibility to protect them from any threats so that they are not coerced to withdraw the case. The influential cannot get away with their crime and must be treated as equal under the law. This seems an uphill task given the current state of affairs.