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From every nook and corner of the world, a term; “Progress and Development” resounds regularly. Over this term, there is existing competition among nations. Nations strive hard; utilize a big chunk of their budget on this name. However, the concept of progress and development we hold lets us down at once especially the moment we experience moral bankruptcy, discrimination, injustice, and dehumanisation continuing uninterruptedly. We take pride of being nuke power and the strong economy but had we ever gave a thought how far these things matter when a section of our society feel suffocated and are deprived of basic rights, dignity, and justice.

We count nuke weapons, technological infrastructure, accumulating wealth etc. as progress and development and not the advancements in our ideas, attributes, and behavior. Having luxurious life means progress and development to us and not the sympathetic and empathetic qualities that a human must have. Respective establishments of India and Pakistan bully each other, project themselves more developed than other but a critical analysis establishes that on humanitarian grounds we (Indo-pak) are retrogressing. The pathetic condition of the female gender is one of the examples. The treatment, women folk is getting in both the countries is utterly disgraceful, and punctures the balloon of progress and development. Apart from domestic violence that women face, they are soft targets of constant brutality and barbarism. For many years, the violent sexual crime – Rape rose sharply, victimising and rendering victim traumatized and stigmatized for entire life, in many of cases snatching their right to live. In India, reports of rape are rising and rape is considered as the fourth most common crime against women. Despite sentencing death to four convicts in Damini rape-case of 2012, this crime couldn’t be stopped. Every other day incidents of rape are taking place in one or other place across India. Fortunately, Pakistan was less known for this but came to attention after spine-chilling, horrifying rape and brutality of 7 year old girl Zainab Ansari.The latter was kidnapped, raped and strangled to death in Kasur when she was on her way home from lessons on Qur’an at a tuition center. After investigation shocking reports surfaced that Zainab was the twelfth victim and eleven such incidents have taken place there in recent past. This gruesome incident incited fury everywhere in Pakistan. Protests, candle marches, and shutdowns continue with every eye moist. The reaction it generated is heart-wrenching but is no solution to the problem.

As an unvarying method to express resentment, political parties resorted to blame games, people lambast administration and judiciary, and the administration denies duties. But it is bitter truth; problem lies with all of us. This is understood that our administrative mechanism is flawed but as humans and accountable citizens, don’t we have any role in society? How long will we continue to complain of governance and administrative faults. Moreover, the crime that we are discussing isn’t something that can be stopped just by judicial and legal reforms. Though judiciary is answerable for ensuring justice to victims but its solution mainly lies outside the law in the mindset of people. The systemic social change is imperative and every single individual has to do its part. Families have an important role to play to inculcate values in their boys, give right lessons, and teach them to be gender sensitive. Educational institutions are believed to have true potential to trigger a change by imparting moral education to children from the basic level for those children will obviously turn young and therefore will have clarity in their minds. Not only they’ll be always mindful of their actions but also their existence, in all the aspects, will be contributive to the society. Importantly if psyche of males undergoes positive and desirable change, cases of this crime will come down spontaneously. We need to invigorate our conscience and once our conscience enlivens, we can’t even bear the pain of others, thus troubling anyone would be unthinkable. Our inner voice will not allow us to touch blooming buds like Zainab, trampling them would be outside of the realm of our imagination.

Instead of pinning blames on one another, we need to admit responsibility at an individual level. The need of the hour is to strive for overhauling system, the system which has, unintentionally and intentionally, been established, starting from home, community, society, and finally nation. By doing so we never have to revolt against the establishment and the people in the establishment will never disappoint masses if they would exercise same.

Zeeshan Rasool Khan is a Contributor at Kashmir reader

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