Husband beats wife with impunity -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Husband beats wife with impunity

By Narjis Zaidi

ISLAMABAD: The wife of a top official of an international organisation in Islamabad lodged a complaint of domestic violence with the Kohsar Police Station on Tuesday afternoon, charging her husband of afflicting her with physical and mental violence and pushing her out of home.

She was accompanied to the police station by three officials of the US Embassy and two representatives of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Centre (SBBC) for Women.

An FIR could not be lodged due to the alleged perpetrator’s diplomatic status and has to be routed through the Foreign Office. The couple arrived in Pakistan in October 2008. The complaint submitted to the Kohsar Police Station accuses the official of inflicting violence on his wife – a University lecturer, and denying her access to her house and personal belongings.

On Friday last week, he permitted her to enter their home and asked her to collect her belongings. “Soon he grew impatient and asked me to leave, pushing me physically out of the house and injuring me in the process. The horror scene was witnessed by the house security guards,” the victim told The News.

Despite the Women Protection Act and a few others pertaining to the modesty and security of women, an FIR against the violence perpetrator could not be lodged due to legalities pertaining to the diplomatic status of the alleged accused. The violence victim is a US citizen and her husband has the UK citizenship. “This has to go through the Foreign Office,” police officials at the Kohsar police station told the complainant and the accompanying team. The Gender Crime Cell (GCC) has similar limitations in case of those with a diplomatic status. The same case was referred for registration to the GCC by the Women Center’s lawyer a day earlier.

On Tuesday morning, the academic and former journalist of Al Ahram visited Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Center for Women and asked for help. Her case of domestic abuse was duly registered with provision of legal and medical help by service providers. Medical report issued by the Center verifies “scratches and bruises on left arm, three and five cm in dimension and one scratch on upper right arm, two and a half cm in dimension. The bruises appeared faded as the violent incident took place on last Friday. The doctor in her report finds the client in a state of acute shock and anxiety and diagnoses her as ‘scared, traumatized and over stressed.”

In her hour of crisis, she called her husband’s office in Islamabad for support and protection but her phone calls and e-mails were not responded to, she said. She called the organisation’s head office in Washington, explaining her plight as a domestic violence victim but did not get the desired help.

“The best solution they have is to get me out of here quickly and safely,” she said with deep disappointment and questioned why the system prefers to remove her from the scene like a bag or a broken toy and not question her husband for his criminal act. She said that she was being pressurised to leave and the fact that she will have to look for a home and a job in the middle of the term was of no consequence.
Source: The News