Crimes Against Women on the Rise in Punjab

ISLAMABAD, May 13, 2011: Punjab province saw a 21% leap in officially-recorded crimes against women in February 2011 as compared to January 2011, according to FAFEN’s collection of officially documented crime cases in 69 districts across Pakistan. The offices of District Police Officers (DPOs) in 25 out of 28 monitored districts of Punjab reported 700 FIRs of crimes that targeted women in February 2011 while in January the police administration of 23 out of 29 observed districts in the province reported 578 crimes against women.

Crime statistics were collected by FAFEN Governance Monitors from offices of DPOs in a total of 69 districts across Pakistan in February 2011. In order to collect this information, FAFEN governance monitors visited the DPO offices of 28 districts in Punjab, 18 districts in KP, 16 in Sindh, six in Balochistan and one district in Islamabad Capital Territory.

Nationwide, the police in 33 out of 69 observed districts recorded 853 crimes against women. Four in every five cases of crimes against women were actually recorded in Punjab districts. Crimes against women include honor killings, the forcible outraging of a women’s modesty, compelling a woman to marry, rape, offenses related to marriage law, and insults to a woman’s modesty.

This was a significant increase on Punjab’s 67% of crimes against women in January, even though only two more districts of Punjab shared information about these crimes (25) than had done in January (23). Monitored districts of Sindh, on the other hand, halved their share of crimes against women from 24% to 12% – despite the number of districts monitored in Sindh falling by only one fourth, from 12 to 9. Five percent of crimes against women were registered in KP, 0.3% in ICT and 0.2% in Balochistan. Lahore district, with 158 FIRs of crimes against women, displaced Faisalabad district as the district recording the most crimes against women.

In fact, considerably higher crime reportage was observed in Punjab in all major categories of crime. Punjab’s 28 monitored districts (of 69 nationwide or 40% of total districts sharing caseload) accounted for a disproportionately large 20,645 (80%) of the total 25,757 registered FIRs of all crimes. Punjab’s share increased by four percentage points from January’s figure. Sindh’s share, on the other hand, decreased from 13% in January to 10% in February. Khyber-Pakhtunkwa (KP) registered 8% of the total FIRs in February while Balochistan and ICT reported 1% each.

Approximately 65% of the total crimes of physical harm were reported in Punjab. Sindh followed with 19% and KP with 13%. Only 3% of crimes of physical harm were recorded in monitored districts of Balochistan, and 1% in ICT. Most of the crimes against property, 84%, were also reported in Punjab. This was followed by 12% in Sindh, and 1% each in ICT, KP and Balochistan. Similarly, the observed districts of Punjab, Sindh, KP and Balochistan accounted for 91%, 7%, 1% and 0.4% respectively of the total 2,574 crimes of threat and fraud.

Accordingly, four of the five districts that reported the most crimes were in Punjab. Lahore district came top, with a huge 23% of all recorded crimes in monitored districts being reporting in this district alone. This was almost twice the figure for the district in second place, Faisalabad, which recorded 13% of crimes in monitored districts. Multan followed with 5% and Rahimyar Khan with 4.1%. Karachi district of Sindh came fifth, with 3.9% of FIRs in monitored districts.

The high rate of registration of crimes in Punjab, however, does not mean that crime is necessarily more prevalent in Punjab than in other provinces. It could be attributed to the province’s large population, or to local people’s trust in the state-run judicial system. On the other hand, a low rate of crime reporting in regions such as Balochistan and KP does not necessarily represent a low crime rate there – other factors might be at work.  These could include the police failing to record crimes that are brought to their attention, citizens’ lack of trust in the police, and/or the existence of a strong parallel (traditional or community-run) justice system.

About FAFEN:

FAFEN is a network of 43 civil society organizations working to foster democratic accountabilities in Pakistan. It is governed by Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability.