domestic violence in dubai

Written by Mahrukh Khalid Siddiqui 12:19 pm

Efficient Laws & Systems for Domestic Violence in Dubai: Where Did Pakistan Go Wrong?

The legal measures and reporting mechanisms for domestic violence in Dubai are functional. That is in stark contrast to Pakistani systems that counter domestic violence. To ensure safety for the victims, Pakistan, too, must adopt Dubai’s best practices in confronting domestic abuse.
Tameer e Khalaq

About the Author(s)

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Ms Mahrukh Khalid Siddiqui is currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Social Sciences with a major in Development Studies from Bahria University Islamabad.

Introduction

Just another day and another gender-based discrimination, abuse or murder case being broadcasted on Pakistani news channels. Many of us just put the matter aside by saying, “Nothing can be done about these Pakistani people.” But is that really the reason? Is the local population only to blame for this? Multitudes of Pakistani nationals are scattered all around the world then why is it that the same issues are not occurring there?

If we take Dubai for instance, as of 2021, its population consists of 12.69% Pakistanis and 27.49% Indians. Despite that, Abu Dhabi was ranked first in the 2021 Women, Peace and Security Index, proving to be the safest place for women to live. According to Dubai Police Major Crime statistics, compared to 2013, the total crime rate has declined by 26.1% in 2019. Then where is the loophole?

The Pakistani population in Dubai is no different from the people in Pakistan. We follow the same culture and practice the same religion. We were brought up in the same environment but the only thing that separates us now is the geographical location. So the fact of the matter is that it’s not the population or the culture that is to blame.

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Rather, it is the responsibility of the government and political institutions to discipline the people who try to bring disruption to the country’s serenity. It is their duty to fulfil the rights of the residents by providing them with a safe and secure place to live their lives in peace. So how did Dubai achieve safety to such a level that they have ranked first in the security index? And where did Pakistan go wrong?

Rule of Law in Dubai

It is not to say that domestic violence or gender abuse does not take place in Dubai; protection is provided by the government when such incidents do take place. In recent years, the government of Dubai has introduced new policies like the Family Protection Policy to prevent different forms of abuse associated with domestic violence. It does so by creating community awareness, training of staff and helpline services.

According to Article 9 (1) of the Federal Decree – Law No.10 of 2019, a person committing domestic violence will be put behind the bars for six months. A specialized institution by the name of “Dubai Foundation for Women and Children” was established in 2007, and since then, this organization has been working tirelessly to overcome human trafficking, domestic violence and child abuse by providing immediate protection services to individuals. Psychological counselling, legal assistance, free medical care, education etcetera are available for the victims to pull them out of any adversity.

Domestic Violence in Pakistan

Now one might say that Pakistan has laws and policies in place too. For instance, the Pakistan Ministry of Human Rights passed the bill for Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2020, with the aim to ‘establish an effective system of protection, relief and rehabilitation of women, children, elders and any vulnerable persons against domestic violence’. The perpetrator is deemed to be imprisoned for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 3 years along with a fine of Rs. 20,000 to 100,000 to compensate the victim.

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However, law-making and law implementation are two entirely different things. Even with the incident related to Noor Mukadam, the Islamabad court has been putting off the indictment for months now and we have yet to hear the verdict. The main reason for that is that Zahir Jaffer, the person responsible for the rape and murder of Noor Mukadam, belongs to an influential family.

Power and wealth through bribery and corruption hack the Pakistani judicial system. In the case of Dubai, the simplest of crimes have strict punishments and the police and judicial system work faithfully to maintain peace and security. Moreover, if any police officer is caught taking bribery, they are immediately sentenced to imprisonment.

Corruption is thus controlled. It has also been claimed that the UAE has ‘one of the highest per-capita concentrations of surveillance cameras in the world’ thus the eyes of the government are everywhere to make sure that the right to safety is always provided to its people.

Takeaway Points for Pakistan

The Pakistani government and judicial system need to be reminded about their duties. People will continue to commit crimes as long as they can get away with it, and it is the government that must execute laws to make sure the criminals are punished for their actions and that justice is served to the victims. Corruption and bribery must be reported, and regular inspection should take place to prevent such acts.

CCTV cameras must be installed not only to keep the residents conscious to prevent crimes but also to provide video evidence to support the cases which are reported. Another reason why the people in Dubai receive justice is the awareness they have of their rights and hence they are not afraid to speak against the abuse of their rights.

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Therefore, educational institutions and local organizations should carry out advocacy and community awareness to inform people of their rights so they are not manipulated or exploited. A specialized bureau or institution should be set up like the “Dubai Foundation for Women and Children” which provides support to people who have faced any form of abuse or discrimination.

Efficient helpline services for victims must be available at all times so that people are not afraid to reach out. If a government-supported organization that speaks for the victims is established then it will reduce the chances of them being publicly ridiculed which is a common occurrence in Pakistan to blame the victim.


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