According to the United Nations’ Integrated Regional Information Networks, the earthquake in Pakistan at the end of last year was used as an opportunity to steal land and other property from unmarried women.
Typical of such victims is Zumera Bibi. The IRIN report describes how Zumera and her four daughters left their house temporarily after the quake. While she was gone, her dead husband’s nephews seized the property and claimed it as theirs. According to the IRIN story,
Zumera has no sons, and as tradition dictates she and her daughters have no right to the property, which would revert back to the brothers of her husband on his death. Even though, under the law, her daughters should get at least a share in the inheritance, this is frequently denied to women.
Well there’s a shock from a part of the world where women can be raped as a method of tribal revenge.
The IRIN story goes on to say that,
In some cases, the claims of the women to hte property have been challenged, and according to reports received by NGOs active in quake-hit areas of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), women without mail family members have been forced to vacate homes or else hand them over to male relatives in the hope that, in return, they will help care for them and their children.
With apparently no credible system of property rights, it is easy to understand why Pakistan’s per capita GDP sits at a pathetic $2,400. In the process of impoverishing women like Zumera, Pakistan is impoverishing the entire nation.
Pakistan: Female quake survivors losing property. Integrated Regional Information Networks, January 3, 2006.