WDF expresses grave concern over organized killing of women in North Wazristan

WDF calls for establishing proper police, court and district administration systems in newly merged tribal districts, and an end to state patronage to proxy groups.

The Women Democratic Front (WDF) express grave concern at reports of the target killing of Nahida Gul Dawar, a health care worker in North Waziristan. According to the locals, women are one of the targets of the re-emerging Taliban groups to establish control in the area. They are openly circulating pamphlets with contents threatening peace-loving citizens including women.

According to Dawn, Nahida Gul, 25, daughter of Farooq Khan, was returning home after performing her duty at the Basic Health Unit of Nathasi in the Khushali Toorikhel area of Mirali subdivision of North Waziristan, when was shot dead by ‘unknown target killers” on 21 September.

In the polio hit country, terrorists have repeatedly targeted polio vaccination workers in Pakhtukhwa and Balochistan. This is the second incident of targeted killing of a woman in the area. Earlier, a local woman, who was a housewife, was killed in Mirali about three weeks ago. While a young couple was killed for attempting choice marriage. Two more women were killed on a pretext of video case.

This is the 5th reported murder of a woman in Waziristan over the past few months, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg of the actual statistics of patriarchal violence against women in the former tribal areas. The increase in murder of women either due to patriarchal violence in the name of honor killing, or militarisation, is outrageous.

The decade’s long militarization has strengthened patriarchy and increased patriarchal violence against women in former FATA, depriving them of their social, economic and political rights. Besides facing overgrown patriarchy leading to increased violence, women are also facing the brunt of militarisation, and the responsibility to sustain families amidst the economic hardships, displacement, target killings and enforced disappearances of their male relatives. However, the state authorities have failed women by neither protecting women nor providing justice to the perpetrators of femicide.

We are extremely concerned over how most of these incidents go unnoticed. The silence from the state authorities established with the purpose of the protecting citizen lives is appalling. The deafening silence of state authorities provide impunity to the perpetrators of partriarchal violence, which comes at the cost of increased incidents of violence against and killing of women.

We demand that the attacks on, and murders of, women by “unknown” elements in North Waziristan be brought to an end; the killers of Naheed Gul should be punished, and it should be ensured that perpetrators do not escape justice on the pretext of the waiver or compounding of the right of Qisas by the wali of the victim. In addition, killers of the recent honour killing of a couple must also be brought to justice.

The state has played a major role in providing impunity to these culprits through patriarchal administrative structures, loopholes in the legal system, and the jirga and panchayat system .

We demand that proper police, court and district administration systems are fully established in the newly merged tribal districts (ex FATA) to maintain law and order in the war-ridden border region.

Above all, peace must prevail and state support to proxy groups must come to an end. Health and education of women can only be provided in these poverty stricken districts if women working in health and education sectors are provided with safety, which is the responsibly of the state.