Ghor govt. stays unconcerned as violence against women soars
FIROZKOH (Pajhwok): The Women Affairs Department of western Ghor province on Wednesday claimed 95 percent of women there had no access to justice, acknowledging that negligence of the government was contributing to violence against females.
Women Affairs Director Masooma Anwari, in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, said even a single man involved in violence against women had not been arrested in the past few years.
She added Ghor witnessed a large number of cases of violence against women including stoning, shooting, murder, burning and whipping. She cited the stoning of a girl named Rukhshana and brazen shooting of Aziz Gul in broad daylight.
Rukhshana, 19, was stoned to death in compliance with a kangaroo court’s orders and the unmarried man she had eloped with was whipped in Awdak Ghaleem village on the outskirts of Ferozkoh, the provincial capital, on Oct. 25 by Taliban militants.
Aziz Gul, another girl, was shot dead by her relatives 15 kilometers west of the capital of the province last month.“With its unconcern, the government has disappointed us. Civil society and people have lost trust in the government, as those involved in violence against women become more aggressive when they go scot-free,” Anwari argued.
She expressed concern at the situation, saying 14 years old Zahra,a victim of exchange marriage, lost her life to family disputes. A sister of Zahra was married by force to one of her relatives.
The husband of Zahra, directly complicit in her killing, is yet to be brought to justice -- thanks to support for him from powerful individuals.She claimed 95 percent of Ghor women did nothave access to justice and they were deprived of Shariah and legal rights.
“Eighty percent of girls in Ghor are married against their consent, 50pc of underage girls are forced into marriage, 60 percent married in exchange,” she said, adding the situation had deprived them of education.
Anwari also referred to the issue fewer women in Ghor offices, saying female government servants were less than one percent.“We will witness more violence against women if the local government, particularly the judicial organs,maintains silence on such issues,” she warned.
Seddiqa, a girl who was traded for her father’s second wife, said: “My mother had no problem, having given birth to several children. But my father fell in love with another woman and engaged me toa boy (17) when I was only 9.”
The 12-year-old revealed her father did so because he had no money to pay as bride price.Seddiqa complained of living under grueling circumstances, as she was not allowed by in-laws to visit her parents.“My husband and in-laws threaten me. My spouse even beats me. I have none but my father to blame for my misery.”
Khudayar Waqif, head of Ghor Civil Society Organisations’ Association, also acknowledged that violence against women had increased in the province because the government was easily influenced by illegal gunmen and powerful individuals.
“We would not witness law enforcement and justice as long as the provincial administration remains under the thumb warlords, who constitute a huge obstacle to rule of law,” the activist remarked.
Provincial police chief, Col. Mohammad Zaman Azimi, said perpetrators of Rukhshan’s stoning were living in an area that was under Taliban’s control.
He said the killers of Zahra had fled, but the father and mother-in-law of the victim had been arrested by police. He added police were doing their best to arrest the perpetrators of violence against women in Ghor.
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