Everything you need to know about Fatima Sohail’s domestic abuse allegations against Mohsin Abbas Haider.

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Earlier today in a Fecebook post Fatima Sohail chronicled her abusive relationship with husband, the singer/ actor Mohsin Abbas Khan, well-known for his appearance as DJ in Dunya News’s talk show called Mazaaq Raat. The two got married in 2015 and have had two children together, a daughter, taken too soon in 2017 and a baby boy they recently welcomed into the world this year.

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Fatima suggested that she has kept quiet about the abuse she has suffered at the hands of her husband due to societal pressure. She accuses her husband of beating her while she was pregnant with their son. She goes on to share posts are proof of the abuse that she suffered at his hands of her husband. She accuses him of extra marital affairs with namely Nazish Jahangir, a model/ actress and has since filed a case against him because he refuses to support her in raising their son.

Domestic abuse is a reality of almost every other marriage in Pakistan. Research shows that one third of the Pakistani population is afflicted with Intimate Partner Violence. Domestic abuse falls under that broad category. It is important to understand that abuse isn’t always physical; it can be verbal and financial. Fatima Sohail’s personal account show that she has suffered physical and verbal abuse over the years and that the perpetrator, namely Mohsin Abbas has gone on to exact financial abuse by withholding support for their child.

Pakistani society is plagued with such cases and the patriarchal society uses physical and financial abuse as means to control women. The Global Gender Gap index 2018 report shows that Pakistan is among the four worst performing countries with respect to women’s rights and gender equality. We can also see that this pattern of abusive behavior isn’t something celebrities are exempt from. This isn’t even the first time we have heard of a domestic violence accusation against a celebrity. In 2009 Rapper Chris Brown pled guilty to having punched the Singer/ makeup-mogul Rihanna.

As far as Fatima Sohail is concerned, she is adamant on ‘speaking her truth’ now. She is not interested in ‘making her marriage work’.  She also attached a copy of the police report she filed against the husband and speaks out clearly in her Facebook Post that she is not scared of ‘divorce threats’ anymore.

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Mohsin Abbas Haider has since taken to the media as well with his side of the story and he says he has his own truth to share alongside proof. He considers the relationship ‘toxic’ and has expressed relief that the relationship has now come to an end.

Domestic Violence is especially difficult to address in Pakistan but nevertheless it needs to be addressed. We applaud the survivors of domestic abuse to come forth and tell their story. The legalities of it are quiet intimidating but here’s what we know about domestic violence law. In 2009, the Domestic Violence Protection bill proposed by Yasmeen Rehman and was passed in the National Assembly and later faced opposition from the Council of Islamic Ideology for promoting divorce. It was taken up again in 2012 and was faced with the same criticism grounded in religion. It is no doubt that laws safeguarding women are challenged and put down more often than others. I provinces such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, domestic abuse is usually treated as a personal issue and even in the worst cases it is settled through a traditional gathering of elderly men i.e. Jirga. Women who pursue divorce cases and make domestic violence accusations are discouraged by legal authorities such as the police, the court even Dispute Resolution Centers for keeping quiet and thinking of family honor instead of their own physical and emotional security. Women especially have trouble providing proof of their violence as we can see from Fatima’s post; she ensures that there are pictures of her bruises attached to her allegations because it simply isn’t enough for the police to take any action. Often they require more serious injuries than bruises as proof. There is much work to be done in Pakistan where women’s rights and security is concerned.

BY: Momina Arif

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