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Pakistani Rights Group Says Violence Against Women Increasing

A Pakistan-based women's rights watchdog says there has been a rise in the number of violent acts reported against women, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

The Aurat Foundation (AF) said 4,448 cases of violence against women were reported from different parts of the country in the first six months of this year.

That compared with the first six months of 2010, when 4,061 cases were registered.

AF Chairman Naeem Mirza told Radio Mashaal the report was prepared on the basis of information collected from all four Pakistani provinces.

He said 3,035 cases of violence were reported from Punjab, 819 from Sindh, 389 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 133 from Baluchistan, and 72 from the capital, Islamabad.

Mirza said those cases include 1,100 kidnappings and 799 murders. The rest were beatings, harassment, and other lesser crimes. He added that 402 women reportedly committed suicide during the first six months of the year.

Commenting on the increase in violence against women, women's rights activist Samar Minallah told Radio Mashaal that in most cases the people responsible for the crimes escape arrest and trial.

"It is the responsibility of the state to ensure protection of a woman, a child or a person," Minallah said. "But [we can see] who is protected by these [law-enforcement] agencies."