Pakistan: complaints of online harassment of women

12:44 Jan 20 2015 Karachi, Pakistan

“Barring a few cases where men were intimidated, resulting in arrests, complaints of online harassment of women have remained consistent,” says Mir Mahzar Jabbar, head of the Federal Investigacion Agency (FIA) in Pakistan.

According to Jabbar, “women face blackmail, threats of personal pictures being leaked online, mostly by men they knew at some point, and fake accounts.”

“In 2014, by mid-May 37 cases of online fraud, fake email and Facebook accounts, and harassment had been reported to the cybercrime wing. The majority of the complainants were women in their early 20s.” However, not a single one of these women followed their case till the end.

The reason, Jabbar says, is the fear of being stigmatised. He gives the example of an anchorperson on a television channel who was being harassed online and who, after the FIA had “done all the legwork”, dropped the case.

“So you can understand what a woman who’s not as independent as the anchorperson will have to go through to pursue such cases.”

Another issue, Jabbar feels, is the lack of proper laws to address such cases.
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