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Pakistan: Anger after woman assaulted by mob

Seerat Chabba
August 18, 2021

Cases have been registered against 400 unidentified people after a viral video showed a woman being assaulted at Minar-e-Pakistan on the country's independence day.

Pakistan I Protest
A recent spate of violence against women has shocked PakistanImage: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

A young woman was assaulted by a massive crowd of over 400 people as she and her friends visited a national monument in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore on the country’s independence day.

In a video that went viral days after August 14, Pakistan’s Independence Day, hundreds of men could be seen picking up the woman and throwing her up in the air. It has drawn condemnation across the country, which has been struggling to deal with violence against women.

"I was stripped and my clothes were torn apart," she said, according to a report by local newspaper The Express Tribune. She was filming a video at Minar-e-Pakistan with some of her friends when the attack took place. 

She said gold jewelry, her mobile phone and cash were "forcibly taken" by people in the crowd.

Local police registered a case against 400 unidentified assailants under several sections of the country’s criminal code, including assault or use of criminal force against a woman and stripping her of her clothes, theft, rioting and unlawful assembly. Non-bailable clauses have also been added.

Uproar on social media

Pakistan’s Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif condemned the incident on Twitter: "What is more worrying is the direction our society is headed in. The recent anti-women incidents are a reminder that malaise is deep-rooted."

He was joined by several other politicians and public figures including activists, celebrities and members of civil society. 

While many condemned the act, several people also took to Twitter to blame the victim and trend "#NotAllMen."

Recent cases of violence against women have triggered a debate about Pakistan’s failure to protect women, a culture of impunity, and the reasons behind society's tendency to curtail women's independence and inflict pain on them.

Pakistan currently ranks as the sixth most dangerous country in the world for women and is currently witnessing a rapid rise in cases of sexual crimes and domestic violence.

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