Featured Original Articles

A Helpless Girl’s Suicide under Patriarchal Oppression – By A.Z

Seventeen years old Haleema Rafique was left with no option but to take her own life to rid herself and her family of continued misery as a result of her daring to seek justice. To explain the backdrop for the uninitiated reader: in 2013, a young female cricketer, Rafique, along with four other female cricketers, had publicly accused the management of Multan Cricket Club of sexual harassment. The allegations were investigated by an inquiry committee set up for this purpose by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and three of the accusing cricketers’ statements were recorded. All three of them retracted their accusations of sexual harassment. Rafique and another cricketer did not appear before the investigating committee. Given the situation in Pakistan, it came as no surprise that the Committee gave a verdict against the young girls, inflicting upon the girls a six-month ban followed by one-year probation. The highly influential accused men of the Club were let off without any reprimand.


Thereafter, Rafique’s cry for justice fell on deaf ears. In the absence of a competent and fair investigation for the facts, I am in no position to establish the whole truth. However, I do know three things with conviction.

One, in a backward and feudal place, even from Pakistan’s standards, like Multan, it is implausible that a seventeen year old poor girl will go public with false allegations of sexual assault. Instead, it is a place where abuse of women is rife and very rarely does a woman have the courage to speak up.

Two, even if Rafique could be suspected of foul play, it is beyond all reasonable belief that in a place like Multan five teenage girls would act in collusion to level false allegations of sexual assault against powerful local males. Pakistan is eons away before the crucible of its patriarchal society could allow such concoctions to be brewed by hapless teenage girls, no matter how cunning they may be. It is a place where young girls have no choice but to either hide or keep secret whatever sexual advances that may have been imposed upon them; even those from much stronger families do this in fear of what their families and society will think of them and if it be known it would reflect negatively on their families’ “honour.”

Three, the PCB and the Committee that investigated the matter of course know fully well that three girls who took back their allegations were mere teenagers from helpless families pitted against some powerful local men who could easily intimidate and influence the girls to change their statements. This is everyday occurrence in the country. Hence, those who purportedly investigated the matter are not merely suspects for negligence but also for collusion.

To make matters worse, Rafique’s accused filed a defamation lawsuit of Rs 20 million (USD 205,000) against her, followed by ceaseless intimidation and bullying that drove the destitute child to end her own life in order to end her family’s suffering. Rafique thus paid the price that seeking justice against hope entails.

Family members of the deceased claim, that she was being continuously threatened after she highlighted her case in the media. They also said that the under-19 female cricketers were being blackmailed to make certain compromises to join the team at Multan Cricket Ground. To add insult to injury, and not just metaphorically, the police said it will be holding an investigation against the family members of the deceased for failing to inform the police about the suicide.

In an article published on BBC, Mohammad Nadeem Qaisar, a Multan-based correspondent, who covers sports for Pakistan’s biggest Urdu newspaper, said: “Sexual harassment is widespread in women’s sports here and is a major impediment in bringing the best players to the fore. One side-effect of this is that second-rated players who are willing to offer sexual favours often get into influential positions.”

To me this case is another painful reminder of the reality that many women in Pakistan are confronted with on a daily basis. While the sexual oppression of women is still found everywhere in varying degrees, South Asia’s societal structure is an architecture of patriarchic oppression that involves a labyrinth of obstacles to women’s freedom. Oppression denying independence and justice to women remains very much an ugly part of this world, in its traditional customs, in religious interpretations, and in the subjugation and marginalization of women. There are five ‘faces’ of oppression: violence, exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, and cultural imperialism. In all these respect, in the year 2014 in South Asia, the women are still held back from achieving full equality and independence.

Those who show courage, despite the odds, meet the same fate as Haleema Rafique.

About the author

Asif Zaidi


Click here to post a comment
  • Hi! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had
    issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.
    I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of
    a good platform.

    My web site :: moving calculator (http://www.moving-calculator.net)

  • minecraft skins for ps3

    how could they link the sections (reading and listening).
    Don’t be in a very rush to publish your work the minute it can be finished.
    Minecraft forge 1.7.2 previously (gsstart.zendesk.com) They are buying
    a model, helpful information, something that can help their particular writing process go faster.
    Break Studios can provide you with a large number of article topics to publish on everyday.

  • Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation;
    many of us have developed some nice methods and we are looking to trade solutions with other folks,
    why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  • Hello there! This post could not be written any
    better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room
    mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem
    to get there! Thank you

  • I simply could not leave your site before suggesting that I really loved
    the standard information a person supply on your guests?

    Is going to be again regularly in order to check up on new posts

  • Greetings, I believe your website might be having web browser compatibility problems.
    Whenever I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues.

    I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, great website!

  • This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of
    your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your site in my
    social networks!

  • As for the Nike Air Max 93, it has been experiencing a resurgence of late and now the shoe is back in two great looking colorways as part of the size.Inspired by the rare earth metals of the periodic table, these two Nike Air Maxs feature metallic accents and shades of pure grey, platinum, burnt red and orewood brown. First up is a grey/white colorway featuring patterned leather, metallic mesh, rich nubuck, and a neoprene bootie, all sat atop a white midsole. The second shoe features a rich bronze/red colorway with bronze patterned leather, metallic mesh, burnt red nubuck, and a light pink bootie.feature metallic accents and shades of pure grey, platinum, burnt red and orewood brown.

  • I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was
    wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any
    recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Appreciate it

  • I really like what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the superb works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.

  • Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been running a blog for?
    you made running a blog look easy. The whole
    glance of your website is fantastic, let alone the content material!

  • Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a
    twenty five foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My
    apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I
    know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  • We stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I should check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to finding out about
    your web page again.

  • Asking questions are genuinely nice thing if you are not understanding something entirely, except this post gives fastidious
    understanding yet.