Friday, January 13, 2012

Women in tribal areas still live in fear

This is the Taliban Obama wants to negotiate with. This is the Taliban that will never change from it's barbaric 7th century implementation of Sharia. This is the Taliban that would impose their sick "religion" on YOU if they had the chance.


Women in tribal areas still live in fear

Claim they are terror­ised for ventur­ing outdoo­rs.

Published: January 13, 2012

PESHAWAR: In Bajaur Agency, very few girls go to school due to threats by the Taliban.

“When I hired a tutor so my two elder daughters could keep up with their studies at home, I began receiving threats,” said Salim Jan from Khar. He is in a quandary about whether to leave the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), according to a report by IRIN.

“The militants are still here despite the military’s claims of victory in 2010,” he added.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), many girls in 2009-10 were forced to join seminaries due to fear of the Taliban.

Not a single girl applied for admission to class nine and no girl went to college in Bajaur, Frontier Region (FR) Kohat and FR Lakki Marwat, stated the HRCP in a September report. Opposition by the Taliban to girls’ education, propaganda against it through illegal FM radio channels, threats and declaring girls’ education as ‘vulgar and un-Islamic’, were preventing parents from sending their daughters to schools, it added.

Zulaikha Bibi*, a resident of a village near Wana, said she had heard of women being mutilated by militants, for ‘offences’ such as venturing outdoors without a male escort.

“Those who live outside the tribal areas cannot imagine the fear women live in,” she said. “There have been cases of militants bursting into homes to ‘check’ on women’s morality in South Waziristan. My teenaged cousin had her hair chopped off because her head was not properly covered, just a few months back.”

Maryam Bibi, chief executive of Khwendo Kor, an NGO, said, “Despite the official stance that the Taliban have been defeated, they are present in remote areas. Women live in terror and have told me their stories of exploitation, harassment and other forms of terrible violence.”

She said accounts contained in a recent study by her organisation, which spoke of militants slicing off the breasts of a mother feeding her baby inside her house, had been verified by field workers.

“I have met displaced women who were asked by security staff at refugee camps for sexual favours in exchange for food,” she said, adding that women also lived in terror in settled areas with Taliban domination, such as Tank district.

“The plight of these women is terrible. It will only change if men’s mindset is be altered,” she remarked.

Asia Bibi, 19, who now lives in Peshawar with her family, said, “Every woman in Mohmand Agency, where I belong, lives in constant terror. The fear of being humiliated when we step out on the street, even if we are covered from head to toe, is demeaning, and violence against women is common – not just by militants but by relatives.”

An HRCP report in October 2010, described specific difficulties faced by displaced women, who had multiple problems getting registered at camps and receiving aid.

“Involuntary displacement can expose women and girls to a range of factors which may put them at risk of further violations of their rights,” it read.

In a separate report on Swat compiled during the same year, HRCP noted that women continued to face many difficulties, including lack of access to education and lack of mobility even a year after the conflict had ended.

In a press release commenting on the Khwendo Kor report, entitled Impact of Crisis on Women and Girls in Fata, UN Women said, “In crises situations, women are among the most vulnerable. During both relief and early recovery, women and children tend to be affected in very different ways from men.”

Fata comprises of some of the least developed areas of the country, according to official figures, with the literacy rate for women standing at barely three per cent.