Monday, September 28, 2020

Pakistan Press On Combatting Sexual Assault and Gendered Response to Policing: New Age Islam's Selection, 28 September 2020

 By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

28 September 2020

• Doctrine, Policy, and Strategy: Combating Sexual Assault in the Land of the Pure!

By Saad Masood

• Gendered Response to Policing In Pakistan

By Anum Pasha

• War and Displacement

By David Vine

• Good Reading

By Dr A Q Khan


Doctrine, Policy, and Strategy: Combating Sexual Assault In The Land Of The Pure!

By Saad Masood

September 28, 2020

Pakistan has been plagued with child abuse, rape and sexual assault cases for years and yet nothing much of substance has been done to curtail this social degeneration! The recent episode being the rape of a woman driving late at night with her three children from Lahore to Gujranwala. Her car ran out of fuel not much far from the posh locality of Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Lahore. She called the police, and while she waited for assistance, two men broke through the driver’s side window and dragged her and her children off the road. The woman was raped multiple times, and to add insult to injury, in front of her children! The family’s torment didn’t stop there! Even when the police started investigating the case, the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore seemed to be further rubbing salt in the wounds by blaming the victim and asking why she was travelling late at night without an adult male companion and why didn’t she ensure she had enough fuel for the journey. At one point the CCPO suggested that maybe the lady thought that Pakistan was as safe as France because purportedly she had lived in France. Though, the CCPO has apologised for his insensitive remarks since but perhaps not before revealing that this mindset seems to be prevalent in a large part of the society as is!

The media – frontline and social – is up in arms and hashtags calling for justice and accountability are circulating widely. There is seething anger from all quarters at the lack of safety and protection and the flagrant disregard of legal and societal values. But wait – we have been here before! There have been many similar incidents in the past where the response was as livid as it is now. These names should ring a bell – Dr. Shazia, Zainab, Farishta, Rimsha, Faizan, Kainat, Firdous – the list is endless! Will the outcome be any different this time around? It must! Or else we will be here again in some months’ time adding a new name to the list!

The golden rule of policy execution: short term corrections only provide a breather to inculcate long term change!

After this recent event, everyman and his aunt has jumped in with suggestions to remedy the situation. People’s emotions are laid bare especially in the biosphere of social media. While it is good to see everyone reacting strongly to this evil, it is equally important to ensure that changes are not knee-jerk at best and short-lived at worst! The Prime Minister reportedly has also supported the notion of public hanging or medical castration. Also note that this view exists even after the recent legislation passed by Parliament which awards life imprisonment or the death penalty to the person who kidnaps, rapes or murders a minor. Will implementing these extreme positions help? In the short term, yes it can but not in the long run. In the psychological world it is said that fear is a good motivator to temporarily stop bad behaviour but it can’t be used to encourage and continue good behaviour. That is mostly because as humans we tend to normalise all extreme circumstances – recall the aforementioned list of victims? Need I say more?! Therefore punishments that instil such level of fear will only provide a small window of respite where good behaviour needs to be established and encouraged. And that is where the long term rectification of this heinous scourge needs to be sought.

For that, one needs to leverage extracts of the previously recommended national security framework for Pakistan. Discussion within that thesis suggested that national purpose – borrowed from the Pakistani constitution – must ensure that Pakistan is a democratic state and society based on Islamic principles of social justice and equality. And that the state will strive to achieve affluence and happiness for all through the values of democracy, freedom, equality, and tolerance. Extrapolated from the national purpose was at-least one national interest which was relevant. This stated that Pakistan should become a secure state especially with regards to its territory, citizens, and constitution. It was deemed so crucial that it was linked to the survival of Pakistan! Then a pertinent national security policy objective was stipulated which ensured transparent writ of the state to protect its people from all internal and external threats. Notice the phrases in the excerpts of all three tenets of the national security framework? Islamic principles, social justice and equality, values of freedom and tolerance, secure state especially with regards to citizens, write of state to protect its people! Let alone the common masses, even governmental ministers may never have thought of a strategic response to this brutal problem in these terms, and there within lies the rub! Society needs to be educated in terms of equality and respect towards all but that education first needs to be established, then disseminated and only then made into belief! The correct and relevant execution of the troika of national purpose, national interest and national security policy will go a long way in making that possible.

The golden rule of policy execution: short term corrections only provide a breather to inculcate long term change! This is exactly the case this time when the country grasps for solutions to these repeatedly asked difficult questions. Imran Khan must heed Ronald Reagan’s warning, “governments have a tendency not to solve problems, only to rearrange them”. This is neither a time for complacency nor a time for pushing the problem down the road, the long and short of combating sexual assault must be discussed and implemented if we don’t wish to be at the same juncture again!


Saad Masood is Director Programmes for an international ICT organization based in the UK and writes on corporate strategy, socio-economic and geopolitical issues


Gendered Response to Policing In Pakistan

By Anum Pasha

September 28, 2020

The recent motorway gang-rape incident calls for retrospection on the absence of a gendered response to policing. The serving Lahore Capital City Police Officer’s (CCPO) victim-blaming in response to the incident brought disgrace for all ranks of Pakistan’s police service community and shattered the public’s trust.

The CCPO’s apology cannot repair the Pakistani police’s damaged image. The government of Punjab’s claims related to reaching the culprits within 72 hours could also be perceived as a self-serving tactic to shift public perception and rebuild the lost credibility of the police force. Both the police and the provincial government simply cannot restore the public’s confidence or win accolades for claimed efforts.

The incident occurred near the provincial capital of Punjab, enraged Pakistani citizens, and became a media spectacle, thus inviting the government and police force’s immediate investigative attention. If the rape had occurred in a rural backwater’s village targeting a marginalized female villager, as has been common in Pakistan, it would have been more complex and possibly never reported – just dismissed or inaccurately recorded. A previous study in a 2012 report by the Asia Society’s Independent Commission on Pakistan Police Reform indicated that a woman’s class and residence (rural/urban) are the primary factors of a police official’s response to their complaint.

While notions of masculinity and patriarchy are obvious in the police’s rhetoric which stressed that this incident occurred due to the female victim’s fault of her own, it automatically gave protection to the male perpetrator and normalized rape as a consequence of women’s actions. It is also interesting to observe the senior police leadership’s self-confidence, carelessness, and callousness in releasing the manipulative statement. This confidence is intrinsic as well as systematic – it reflects the wider unequal power relations between men and women which contribute to women’s subordination in society and stifle their voices. It stems from a deep-rooted patriarchal mindset, which discourages women from seeking justice, creates distrust, and significantly lowers reporting of sexual violence cases and conviction in Pakistan. The police are an absolute last resort in most cases.

Pakistan police’s inability to swiftly tackle sexual violence and abuse cases involving women is evident. In this case, the survivor’s chosen actions and behavior became the center of national discourse to disguise the poor quality of investigation and accountability as well as failure to swiftly respond to the women’s call for help. Gender discrimination and cultural bias pervade police investigation and lower neutrality. The prevailing narrative supported by law-enforcement agencies allowed space, freedom, and justification to the perpetrators for their heinous crimes.

There has also been an ownership problem given the occurrence of blame-shifting between police departments as efforts were made to steer clear of responsibility and jurisdiction and dismiss exposed inadequacies and mis-coordination.

The high-level verdicts that followed the incident were shocking too. Prime Minister Imran Khan launched an impractical wish list and desire for public hanging of the criminal, whereas he could have advocated for police forces to improve oversight, adopt tech for criminal investigation, and enhance gender sensitive policing to address the security needs of women and children. He also blamed “Bollywood” for Delhi becoming the rape capital of the world. Why did the premier not say that rape happens simply because of the rapist?

This kind of public discourse on rape led by the political leadership only serves to give more confidence to perpetrators. Quality essential justice services must protect and support Pakistan’s GBV victims. Police officers are responsible for dealing with victims with high levels of dignity and respect since this does impact the investigative decision-making. Empathetic policing in investigating rape and assault cases is critical for first responders and senior police personnel. The police’s radical portrayal of the incident was flawed and did not account for the victim’s trauma. It also reflected indifference, compassion fatigue, and burnout.

Reporting sexual assault and domestic violence is severely insignificant in Pakistan because of several factors – including the expectation that police involvement will further aggravate the problem. Female survivors/victims of abuse are hesitant because the process of lodging the First Information Report (FIR) itself is complicated and grueling. Women face several constraints including mobility restrictions in reaching local police stations. The very moment a Pakistani woman decides to step up for herself lodge a complaint, and enter a police station, she is bombarded with societal judgement, scepticism, privacy invasion, and antagonizing attitudes of police officers. She does not see any women police officers who could potentially relate to her predicament.

This is why Pakistan stands at a low three percent conviction rate in rape and sexual assault, according to news reports.

The police force is dominated by men as gender stereotypes still pervade law-enforcement institutions and male power continues to be reinforced. It is not surprising that female representation is shockingly low in provincial police departments. At present, 6899 female police officers are working throughout Pakistan against the 465,035 sanctioned strength of police, according to statistics from the National Bureau of Police.

Women’s recruitment in decision-making authoritative roles in the police force is far and few in between. There is global evidence that women as leaders and decision-makers in policing can be role models for the community and respond effectively to women complainants. However, attracting more women to policing careers is impossible unless there is widespread gender sensitization and a revamped public image of the police which is genuine and not a mere stage performance.

The government’s ongoing efforts to effectively cater to complaints of women, transgender persons, and other vulnerable members of society, such as the establishment of a women’s helpline or a women’s safety mobile application, will not have adequate results unless there is supporting mass public awareness, gender sensitization, and community-level dialogue.

Outreach and publicity should not only be donor-driven and limited to savvy reports, high-level press statements, websites, and campaigns executed in silos. There is urgent need for more than just conversation on mainstreaming gender in policing. Women must be at the epicentre of institutional level police reforms to drive a gender-balanced perspective on policing. The reforms must account for perspectives of female victims who have experienced police hostility.

There should be intense focus on sensitized approaches towards policing practices and specialized training which give officers insights into dealing with GBV survivors and humanizing the investigative process. A conducive environment should be created in police departments where women can perform, and their posting should be linked with performance and not their gender. Women-only desks should be established in all police stations to cater to the increasing GBV crimes in Pakistan. Further concrete action beyond stakeholder dialogue and hotel roundtable conferences needs to be taken so that policing can cater to women and not just men in Pakistan.


Anum Pasha is a communications and government affairs expert and Chevening scholar who studied at the LSE, London.


War And Displacement

By David Vine

September 28, 2020

Over the last week, considerable debate arose around a calculation I helped produce showing that the wars the US government has fought since the attacks of September 11, 2001, have forced at least 37 million people – and perhaps as many as 59 million – to flee their homes.

As a co-author of the underlying report, produced for Brown University’s Costs of War Project, I was encouraged by the attention in the media – which ranged from the New York Times to Fox News – because it has generated interest in the millions of people displaced by the US ‘global war on terror’. My American University co-authors and I note that no one inside or outside the US government has previously calculated how many people these wars have displaced.

The report conservatively estimates that eight of the most violent ‘counterterror’ wars the US government has engaged in since 9/11 – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria and Yemen – have produced 8 million refugees and 29 million internally displaced people. The 37 million total displaced is more than those displaced by any war since at least the start of the 20th century, except World War II.

Critiques of the report cantered around the degree to which the US government is responsible for displacement in all eight of these countries. People agreed that the George W Bush administration launched the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, some have said that the other countries we include in our estimate – Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen – are incredibly complex conflicts in which the US government has been a less central combatant, making it hard to say what role, if any, the US government has played in creating displacement.

Yet the purpose of our report is not to assess relative responsibility for displacement among different actors. Our report says clearly, “We are not suggesting the US government or the United States as a country is solely responsible for the displacement.” The Taliban, Iraqi Sunni and Shia militias, the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, the UK government and other U.S. allies, and Bashar al Assad share considerable responsibility along with other combatants, governments, and actors.

Instead, our goal, in keeping with those of the broader Costs of War Project, is to shed light on the often unacknowledged costs of the U.S. government’s 19-year-long ‘war on terror’.

Our study focuses on the eight countries where the US government bears significant responsibility for wars it has launched (Afghanistan and the oft-ignored overlapping war in Pakistan triggered by invading Afghanistan, and Iraq); escalated as a major combatant (Libya and Syria); or intensified through drone strikes, battlefield advising, logistical support, weapons sales, and other military aid (Yemen, Somalia, and the Philippines).

Of course these are complex conflicts in which many actors – in many cases not primarily US actors – have committed the violence that has displaced people. Still, we include countries beyond Afghanistan and Iraq in our count because the US government has played an undeniable and deep systemic role in these ‘other wars’ through the ‘war on terror’s’ combat troop deployments, contributions of military support, the rhetoric of ‘counterterrorism’, and the trillions of dollars that have supported these efforts. Reckoning with the effects of the entirety of our ‘war on terror’ is a responsibility US citizens cannot ignore.

With Syria in particular, many readers of the report have rightly noted the difficulty in assessing the US role in causing displacement. Again, we are not blaming the US government alone for the displacement of the 7.1 million Syrians we include in our total. Deep responsibility lies with other combatants who have played larger roles during the Syrian civil war (2011–present). They include Assad and the Syrian government, the Islamic State, Syrian rebel groups, the Russian and Turkish governments, and other outside forces.

As a result our methodology for calculating displacement linked to US involvement in Syria was conservative. We began our calculation in 2014, when the US military started fighting in Syria, but we could have included larger numbers displaced due to US support for Syrian rebels since at least 2013. Some would argue that we should include all of Syria’s displaced (likely more than 20 million people since 2011) given the role of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in destabilizing the Middle East and creating the Islamic State and other militant groups in the first place.

Our calculation also focused narrowly on Syrians displaced in and from five of Syria’s 14 provinces where US forces have fought the Islamic State and operated from military bases since 2014. This is how we derive the figure of 7.1 million displaced, which is well under half of Syria’s total displaced people.


Excerpted from: ‘The U.S. ‘War on Terror’ Has Displaced 37 Million People’.


Good reading

By Dr A Q Khan

September 28, 2020

Some books of value that I read: the first one, full of valuable information, is titled ‘Ishque Mustafa’ by Maqsood Ahmad Islahi and printed by Chisti Kutub Khana, Lahore. The proofreading, we are told, was done by Allama Mufti Muhammad Mansha Tabish Qasuri.

One glance at the book will make one immediately realize that the author is indeed a great lover of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the Almighty. This treasure of knowledge consists of 843 pages. It had been the author’s long desire to write a book that would give pleasure and satisfaction to the reader as well as give them a sense of becoming closer to the Prophet (pbuh) and the Almighty. Unfortunately, his parents, who were always praying for the completion of the book, passed away before its printing. He himself required cataract surgery, which again delayed the completion.

The topics touched upon are as follows: Love for the Prophet (pbuh) in the light of the Quran and Hadith; demands of love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh); how to develop love for the Prophet (pbuh), his grand personality and the manner in which this love and respect is manifested; the place for lovers of the Holy Prophet (pbuh); the love of the Almighty and other prophets for the Holy Prophet (pbuh); the love displayed for the Holy Prophet (pbuh) by Angels and Jins; the love of Hazrat Abdul Muttalib, Hazrat Abu Talib and of his wives for the Holy Prophet (pbuh); the love of the ‘Sahaba’, the ‘momineen’ and non-Muslims for the Holy Prophet (pbuh); the love of the sky, earth, vegetables, fruits, etc for the Holy Prophet (pbuh); ‘Hijrat’ in the words of the Holy Prophet (pbuh); competition amongst the lovers of the Holy Prophet (pbuh); our behaviour regarding our love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh); the success of the Umma founded in the love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh); parents and children in their love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh); the character of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in the light of history; manner of greeting for the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

The second important and useful books is titled ‘Ibn-e-Karam-Mashaeqe Qadria Qatbihe’, written by Pir Muhammad Tahir Hussain, published by Kitab Khana Ibne Karam, Jhang and available from Abdul Waheed Qadri. It starts from Hamd-o-Naat and is the result of hard work and research. The author has about 36 books to his name and is still actively writing. The book has nearly 1300 pages and is a treat to read. By writing this book, Mr Qadri has done a great favour to students and teachers of Islamiat.

Within the Subcontinent, the heads of the Qadiri order – the ‘Uch Sharif’s Gaylani Sadat’ are, for the first time, being comprehensively brought forward in some literary form through this work. Hazrat Makhdoom Sayyid Muhammad Ghawth Al-Gaylani and eminent successor and sage, Hazrat Makhdoom Sayyid ‘Abd-Al-Qadir Ath-Thani, were not only those introducers of the spiritual path, but also became profoundly renowned for their mystical feats.

Another thing about this work is that it not only references their respective statuses, but also their benefactors and representatives while other works have only managed to highlight singular aspects. Some un-issued works and unpublished manuscripts are also presented in this book. Also given is a detailed study of Qadir’s beloved grandson and benefactor of teaching. This is encyclopaedic work and a story of divine love that has been spread for fourteen centuries.

May the Almighty shower His infinite blessings on both authors and their families for their efforts in the cause of Islam – Ameen.

Note: Some time ago I reviewed a book titled ‘The Holy Quran – A Continuous Miracle’, written by Prof Dr Muhammad Akram Chaudhary. It has now been published in an Urdu version under the title ‘Quran Karim, Ek Musalsal Mojza’ and published by Darul Nawadir, Urdu Bazar, Lahore. It is available from Kitab Saraey, Urdu Bazar, Lahore. This is a great opportunity for Urdu lay readers, students, scholars and teachers to benefit from Prof Chaudhary’s knowledge. Only the Almighty can reward him sufficiently for this great work on the Holy Quran.



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