Hindu Woman Mutilated And Murdered In Sanghar

Hindu Woman Mutilated And Murdered In Sanghar
The barbaric murder of Daya Bheel, a woman from Sanghar district of Sindh has once again called into question the policy of the state as to protection of women and the efficiency of law enforcing agencies.

On Dec 27, when the nation was observing the death anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto – who is considered a role model for women across the world – another lady Shirimati Dhaya Bheel, a 40-year-old widow, was found brutally murdered in a mustard field in the Sinjhoro taluka of the district.

Her body lay by a watercourse near the fields, with different parts including private ones severed with a sharp object and skin peeled off.

It has been four days to the incident but no significant headway could be made. Police have detained more than a dozen suspects including a local magician who would run his spells to 'rid people of their difficulties'.

Following the incident, PPP Senator Kirishna Kohli visited the village and directed a high profile probe into the matter. After the notice of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, a five-member joint-investigation team led by Sinjhoro DSP Javed Ahmed Chandio was formed. The DIG has tasked the JIT to submit the initial report within 24 hours.

The incident has triggered a wave of agony and anguish across the country and worldwide, with people hailing from different walks of life deploring the brutality and calling for transparent and vigilant probe into the horrendous homicide.

It is not for the first time that the "daughter of eve" has been victimised in this country. Data collected by this scribe shows that the incidents of violence against women are surging with every passing day in Pakistan. Some 25,389 incidents against women were reported in the year 2019 alone, while in 2020, 23,789 cases of abuse and other crimes, including rape, were brought on record. Similarly, in 2021, 14,189 cases were registered.


According to the statistics, more than 3,987 women were murdered across the country from 2019 to 2021 over different domestic issues including honour killing, while 10,517 cases of rape against women were registered during that period.

The women in rural areas of the country are more victimised as compared to those living in urban areas.

Around 32 percent of women have confronted physical violence in Pakistan and 40 percent of married women have suffered spousal abuse at some point in their life (The Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012-2013). These statistics do not accurately lay bare complete data of such cases; one in two Pakistani women who have experienced violence never sought help or told anyone about the violence they had experienced.

The conviction rate for violence against women sits at only 1-2.5 per cent. Resources and services for women survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) remain scarce.


There is a long list of laws enacted by the parliament of Pakistan to protect women prominent. Among those are anti-rape (Investigation and Trial) Act 2021, Protection Against Harassment of Women At Workplace Act 2012, The National Commission on the Status of Women (Amendment) Act, 2021, The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2013.

Why are laws ineffective?

Advocate Asifa Alwani, currently working as an Internee with MANTAQ at National Assembly of Pakistan, gives multiple reasons behind ineffective dispensation of pro-women laws that include illiteracy, lack of  awareness and a rigid mindset that prevails in the remote areas of Sindh and Punjab, and the fact that women are not aware about her constitutional rights in Pakistan.

A practicing female lawyer of Sujawal, Advocate Kanwal Sheikh, is of the view that the investigating agencies in Pakistan, mainly police, lack skills of investigating the cases of violence against women and are unable to probe the cases from multiple angles. She adds that the intervention of local feudal lords also disrupts the process of investigation. The laws for women will remain ineffective in the country until the beneficiaries of these laws get awareness of their due rights encapsulated in the enactments, she maintained.

Furthermore, health services personnel are inadequately equipped, referral systems are limited, and insufficient training on GBV combined with low investment in human capital enhances the vulnerability of women. These gaps exist on the backdrop of a structurally and culturally patriarchal society, where social norms promote gender-based abuses. Disclosure to violence is also discouraged and women are often blamed for their abuse.

The need to change minds and behaviors is immense, and it is within this landscape that UNFPA continues to work towards a change.

The author is a practicing lawyer and freelance journalist. His areas of interest are cultural diversity and socio-political issues of Sindh.