A man who was caught on CCTV footage sexually harassing a woman on a street in Orangi Town, Karachi has been arrested, police have reported.
On Sunday, footage of a motorcyclist appearing to grope a sole female passer-by went viral. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) West Suhai Aziz said that the footage led to the man’s arrest.
Although the girl did not file a complaint about the harassment, police began searching for the man after viewing the CCTV footage. They were able to identify and arrest the man within 12 hours.
Street harassment is rampant on Pakistan’s city streets, even though Section 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) criminalises harassment with punishment of up to three years incarceration. Harassment is defined as an act which “insults the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman.”
Pakistan is ranked 151 out of 153 countries at the bottom of the Global Gender Gap Index Report 2020.
This year, women from various quarters gathered on International Women’s Day to counter the structural violence perpetuated against Pakistani women, ranging from street harassment and gang-rape, to a lack of employment opportunities and conservative cultural expectations.