International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
As in all other traditional, class-conscious society, in Chitral
too, status declines more slowly than wealth. Likewise people of
Chitral are relatively more ego-driven holding on to their cultural
traditions and connect with each other in an instinctive way. So,
anything against honor affects the status of a family to a deeper
“Ghayrat”- Defence of honor, is one of the strongest foundation on
which this status is built on. Defence of honor is typically
synonym with defence of one’s women. Here I will not debate on
women rights but woman is a symbol of honor and expected to abide
by norms and preserve family honor.
Today on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against
Women I was wondering about a very alarming social issue that has
prevailed in Chitral. We have been reading and hearing about the
growing number of this negative trend of suicides and have our own
reasons and conspiracy theories. But the most popular reason
assumed by locals is failure in love.
Locals and Human Rights officials say that the actual number of
suicide is much higher, but most of these incidents were missed by
the police and journalists, because families attempt to conceal the
actual cause of death. Most of the reasons put forward are failing
to get good marks in the Metric/intermediate examinations and
domestic issues. Since Chitrali culture supports arrange marriages
and once married the interference of parents is unappreciated.
Marriages without consent often lead to domestic disputes and the
girls find no place to get consolation when faced with unrestrained
behavior by their husbands or in-laws.
One of the reasons for this increasing statistics is social laws
where cases are nipped in bud or proved accidental in mere struggle
of guarding the honor which emboldens the perpetrators. And in
majority of the cases both the families try to find a middle ground
by concealing the incident in order to avoid the interference of
police and social stigma. It’s a high time that Human right
activists play their role and save the future of Chitral. Setting
up psychiatric clinics in the district might be helpful but recent
incident where a female psychiatrist was killed by a patient makes
it difficult to initiative such step without proper research and
veteran physiologists. Young psychiatric might face the same fate
as of the young girl who was murdered a couple of months ago. There
are no shelter homes for women in Chitral so there is no option
left but to take this heinous step. When ending the pain becomes
unworkable the other convenient option they see is ending life.
Due to the fact that Chitral is situated in one of the remotest
areas of Pakistan, government and other organizations are hesitant
in working for the quality of life of people in Chitral. Various
newspapers and website report frequent suicide cases but no effort
is made to address this issue that has taken the shape of a
full-fledged social problem. HRPC claims to work for human rights
in the backward Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa but this
seem to have no effect as numbers of cases are increasing day by
day. The people of Chitral have incessantly requested the
government authorities to send a team of senior psychiatrists to
Chitral to find out the factors and propose some way out for this
issue. If not awareness sessions at least a study should be
conducted to evaluate the causes of the tendency.
By Benazir Mir Samad
About the Author
Benazir Mir Samad is the Editor Web at ARY NEWS.