War Against Rape (WAR) was founded in 1989 in Karachi, by a group of women associated with the Women’s Action Forum (WAF), one of the most prominent and active women’s rights group in Pakistan. Back then, the printed media were publishing various reports of dacoits breaking into homes, robbing families and raping the women of the household. Although the robberies were reported to the Police, the families were not reporting sexual assault and rape. The need for an advocacy group against this problem was felt at a time when the Hudood Ordinances, 1979, had made convictions impossible and women reluctant to report rape.”
WAR started its work as a response to the high incidence of rapes and gang-rapes in the city of Karachi and took special view of the draconian Hudood laws which were not just discriminatory towards women and made rape virtually impossible to prove against the accused, but also caused a multitude of innocent women to languish in jails for crimes committed against them.
WAR has dealt legally with close to 200 cases of varying severity so far, including gang-rapes and fatal sexual assaults, sometimes of children as young as 2 years old. It has extensive experience of interacting directly with survivors and families and has accumulated vast knowledge on the problems they face that in turn affect their choices and recovery. After a decade of servicing, WAR is not only being referred cases, by Judges and State prosecutors in lower and high court of Karachi, but has also secured some land-mark victories in rape trials. It is increasingly being recognized as a legal expert on rape in Karachi by the State and the civil society. An example of the former is Advisor to the Chief Minister, Sindh, requesting WAR’s assistance in a case in 2010, which was subsequently won.