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    In the 21st century, Pakistan
faces several humanitarian challenges ranging from recurring natural disasters
to insecurity issues that include sexual violence, terror and gender
inequality. Primarily, natural disasters like monsoons, droughts and
earthquakes have been dealt with reactively instead of proactively which-
unfortunately- led to a large number of fatalities. This is due to not
prioritizing vulnerable populations (especially females within households),
lack of maintenance of small systems rendering them unusable (like extensive
canals and irrigation channels in drought-affected areas), malnutrition,
inadequate protection arrangements and ineffective warning arrangements that
were disrupted by temporary suspension of mobile and land-line
telecommunication, did not even reach vulnerable communities (like those
located in mountainous regions) or that were not seriously observed by the
public. Besides fatalities due to natural disasters, insecurity issues also
play a detrimental role in Pakistan. Zia Ahmed Awan –founder of Madadgaar
National Helpline 1098 and national commissioner for children- mentioned that
93% women experience some form of sexual violence, while Bilgrami briefed 118
cases of child marriage, 2092 of domestic violence, 14 forced marriage, 562 harassment,
792 of mental torture and 6 of sodomy. Moving on, terror has also led to the
loss of a large number of innocent Pakistanis through bombings and other
barbaric methodologies. Pakistan also shows gender inequality especially when
looking into the way imprisoned women are treated. For instance, there are no
lady doctors in the Lahore women’s jail. Moreover, neither are there separate
sections for juvenile girls nor are there any proper toilets and bathrooms.

    Sadly, the lives of millions of children and
innocent people were the cost paid for these challenges. Pakistan’s world
rankings in terms of insecurity and natural disasters depict the real need of immediate
action. A new global assessment shows that Pakistan is among the 10 countries
whose population is acutely exposed to natural disasters mainly due to weak
infrastructure. This translates to more fatalities and damage. Moreover, Pakistan
ranks 3rd on the list of most dangerous countries for women and
ranks fifth out of 163 countries on the Global Terrorism Index (“GTI”)
with a score of 8.4 out of 10 as quoted by the Australia and US-based Institute
for Economics and Peace (“IEP”) in its report. Pakistan also ranks the
second worst country in the world for gender equality for a second year in a row, which is disastrous.

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    Due to this, strict action has to be taken
to address all those challenges as soon as possible. To address the
natural disaster issue, the HCT has approved of the cluster approach
strategy to organize adequate protection
and warning arrangements that prioritize
vulnerable communities where most fatalities occur. There should be sufficient
health services, clean drinking water and hygiene based on impact level. There
should also be no delays in the provision
of those services if a maximum number of people are to be saved. There should
be training, education and simulations carried out to ensure a positive, fast
response. In terms of sexual violence, a law known as Protection
of Women Against Violence Bill 2015 has been established to protect anyone
against domestic, emotional, psychological, economic or sexual violence. It
will imprison any offender. However, it is crucial that this law is implemented and implemented in a just
manner. In terms of gender inequality in terms of women imprisonment,
there should be separate jails for women and juvenile girls -which will be
under educated women police officers’ and jailers’ observation- in which they
will be provided full human rights. They will also be engaged in programs that
will improve their skills so that they do not become a burden on the society. Lastly,
in terms of terror, military operations such as Zarb-e- Azb and Raddul
Fasaad have considerably brought down the number of terrorist attacks and the
ability of terrorists to attack Pakistanis. This will not be easy, but is the
only way to solve this century’s challenges- that is to face them.

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