Falak Noor case: women’s rights bodies rubbish G-B govt stance

Violence against girls

News Desk

The recent surge in gender-based crime against women and young girls in Gilgit-Baltistan has sparked widespread outrage and a wave of protests across GB, Pakistan, and Europe.

From the streets of Gilgit-Baltistan to Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi, students, youth organisations, and women expressed their anguish and fury, demanding urgent action to address this alarming trend.

In response to the egregious abduction of Falak Noor and the subsequent failure of law enforcement agencies to ensure her safe recovery, human rights defenders and a panel led by senior lawyer Ehsan Ali, have petitioned the Chief Court of Gilgit-Baltistan, seeking justice for Falak Noor and holding accountable those responsible for her abduction.

Last week, The Chief Court summoned top police officers, directing them to produce Falak Noor before the court by April 2 or face contempt charges.

Women’s rights bodies statement

In solidarity with the victim’s family, three women’s rights organisations — Girls Razhek, Working Women, and Gilgit-Baltistan Women Forum — have expressed deep concerns and anguish at the rising crime against women and girls in Gilgit-Baltistan.

In a joint statement, these organisations have expressed solidarity with the victims and condemned the escalating violence against women and girls.

“Through this statement, we reiterate our determination to confront gender-based crime head-on and to advocate for the rights and safety of all women and girls in Gilgit-Baltistan and beyond,” it read.

The abduction and forced marriage of 13-year-old Falak Noor, from her village Sultanabad on the outskirts of the capital city, and the murder of 18-years Inara who had gone missing 20 days ago in her native town Yasin highlight the urgent need for action to address the pervasive issue of gender-based violence in our region.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the criminal negligence and laxity of the Gilgit-Baltistan government and law enforcement agencies in their failure to recover Falak Noor from the clutches of her abductors and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Furthermore, we denounce the recent media talk given by Gilgit-Baltistan Minister Shams Lone and CM’s adviser Faiz Ullah Faraq regarding Falak Noor’s abduction, forced marriage, and coerced religious conversion. Their remarks not only add insult to injury for the victim and her family but also represent a shameful attempt to distort facts and deflect attention from the severity of the crime.

These organisations have also rejected the false narrative by the Gilgit-Baltistan government officials, who have attempted to downplay the gravity of the situation and shield the perpetrator from accountability. The officials’ refusal to acknowledge the prevalence of such crimes in our society and their failure to take decisive action to address them is deeply concerning.

Such actions not only display insensitivity but also betray a blatant disregard for the rights and safety of women and girls in Gilgit-Baltistan.

“It is utterly disgraceful that government representatives would take a clear stance in favour of the perpetrator, who is accused of abducting a minor girl, forcing her into marriage, and coercing her into a religious conversion.”

We stand in solidarity with Falak Noor and her family and demand justice for her and all victims of gender-based violence in Gilgit-Baltistan.

We call on the authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into this case and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice by the law.

Furthermore, we urge the Gilgit-Baltistan government to prioritize the safety and well-being of women and girls in the region, rather than protecting criminals and perpetrators of violence. Steps must be taken to dismantle the structures of oppression and impunity that enable such atrocities to occur.

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