HRCP’s Fact finding mission: Watta Satta takes another victim


Violence against women and ignorance among women of their constitutional right to life and security is rampant in many parts of Pakistan. An independent fact-finding mission of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed alarm at the widespread practice such of watta satta [bride exchange]. In end-June badly mutilated body of a young women named Waziran, a resident of the village of Wada Chhachar, was dumped by the side of the Indus Highway. She was two months’ pregnant at the time of her death.

As the HRCP report points out “three men have been arrested in connection with the crime. HRCP has reason to believe that the act was one of revenge, possibly related to the practice of watta satta in her family. HRCP was concerned to find that several village residents were inclined to dismiss the murder as an ‘accident’ or ‘suicide’ despite a post-mortem report indicating that the young woman had clearly suffered extensive trauma consistent with injury with both blunt and sharp objects. It is also a matter of concern that, apparently, the autopsy did not determine whether she had been sexually assaulted.”

The HRCP “urges the police and local authorities to undertake a thorough investigation and for the government to take immediate measures to set up women police desks staffed by trained police officers with full knowledge of the law and procedures, particularly from a human rights perspective. In the long term, it is imperative for communities to be sensitised to the sheer scale and incidence of violence against women in a systematic, effectual manner – to realise that this is not acceptable under any circumstances.”