Gendered Victimisation and Response of the Civil Society in Pakistan: The Profile of the Worst Year – 2012


  • Anwar Shaheen


Pakistan, since its inception, has been going through an unending series of internal and external conflicts. The anatomy of wars and conflicts related to Pakistan reveals that there are persistent as well as emerging reasons behind both types of conflicts. The resultant victimisation has a special gendered nature and gendered impact thereof. The year 2012 has been the worst with respect to human killing, injuries or loss of property, and overall incidence of terrorism. Over four thousands persons lost life only in the city of Karachi only. The impact of the conflict going on in Afghanistan has inevitably been along since 1979. Inside the country, women victimisation has been direct as well as indirect. It has also been associated with terrorist activities going on within the boundaries of Pakistan. Besides, the peace-time killing of women has been going on steadily. The ‗war on terror‘ has brought losses and severe insecurity for a large number of families; needless to say that the resultant sufferings are also gendered in nature. In short the painted picture is not only complex but at present shows little chance of improvement. The response of the civil society has been dwindling in the recent years, not in its magnitude, but in its proportion to the growing volume of challenge caused by human victimization. Recently the media activism and judicial activism seem to be overshadowing the civil society activism. The gender issues, traditionally largely projected by the civil society, are now seen losing ground. This paper analyzes the scenario of 2012 which has seen landmark events, such as attack on children‘s rights activist, Malala Yousufzai, the Baldia Town fire, sectarian killings particularly of Hazara tribe, killing of polio-vaccinators, and jirga edicts. Keeping such events in sight, the paper looks into the nature, reasons and implications of gendered victimization in particular.