Stories about honour killing

The psychology behind sexual violence

Countless women have been murdered in the name of honour and a number of girls are being avenged through rape for the crimes their male family members have committed. Underage girls are being married off to men thrice their age in compensation of any social embarrassment faced by the girl’s father or brothers. At the same time, there are constant reports of children being on the receiving end of sexual violence. A handful of perpetrators were caught when videos were circulated on social media, but most of them roam free. Sexual crimes and violence have been perpetrated against women and children in almost ...

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The Qandeel Baloch story: Using the law of forgiveness as a license to kill

In some surreal news, Qandeel Baloch’s parents have taken steps to essentially cancel her case. Should they be successful, Qandeel’s story will most likely take the same disappointing direction as those of countless other innocent women who fell victim to a deafening patriarchy. According to an affidavit filed with the Multan courts, Qandeel’s parents have asked the court to not only dismiss the murder charges against their sons, Waseem and Aslam Shaheen, but have also requested to the court to wrap up the case as soon as possible. This is because not only have they forgiven him, but they also believe ...

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Heer Maan Ja: And the award for the best Eidul Azha film goes to…

With three star-studded films released on Eidul Azha – Heer Maan Ja, Parey Hut Love and Superstar – the competition to succeed at the box office was fierce. In this race for ratings, Heer Maan Ja truly stood out for its unique narrative. IRK Films introduced us to the world of Heer (Hareem Farooq), a young soon-to-be-married woman on the run from her conservative family. However, along with its entertainment aspect, the movie propelled its viewers to reflect on its hidden message about honour killing as well. Including a socially important message, Heer Maan Ja fulfilled its duty of responsible filmmaking. All in all, the movie emerged as a winner ...

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#TherapistDiaries: How toxic masculinity impacts fatherhood and other relationships

Who is the strongest man in your life? Did your response comprise of somebody in an authoritative position over you, irrespective of your gender? And what is it that makes this person ‘strong’ in your perception? I remember a time when a certain male cricketer from across the border cried during a match after being slapped by another player. It was in the news for days and we all laughed our hearts out at his tears. Whenever men express their feelings, we call them names that somehow prove they do not fit the golden category of (toxic) masculinity known as ‘macho’. Macho ...

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Dear PEMRA, it is our society that is ‘indecent’; our dramas are merely a portrayal of it

The performing arts are considered a tool for providing entertainment, relaxation and catharsis to society. Before the invention of the television, stage dramas, dancing and poetry were all important mediums in people’s lives, showing just how necessary entertainment is for us. Pakistan’s first official TV channel was launched in 1964, and we soon saw the rise of our drama industry with classic plays like Ankahi, Waris and Tanhaiyaan. However, after General Ziaul Haq’s martial law and the subsequent Islamisation of society, the entertainment industry was not spared either. As a result, the film industry gradually vanished and dramas became more ...

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Sindh may lack basic amenities but its women surely know how to break glass ceilings

From the very moment they are born, our girls are taught they are dependent upon the men in the family. As the girls become women, they grow up believing they need their fathers, brothers, husbands or sons to look after them and protect them. However, most Pakistani men are unfortunately good at depriving women of their social rights under the garb of religion or culture. Women are often denied an education or the chance to gain employment, deprived of their due share in inheritance, and even killed in the name of honour under the guise of “protection”. Amidst all the ...

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From a man’s perspective: Why Pakistani men murder women for saying ‘no’

As cases keep coming to the forefront on a regular basis, the question of why Pakistani women are killed for rejecting male advances will sooner or later have to be answered. The killing of a young medical student, Asma Rani, and the stabbing of Khadija Siddiqui were still fresh on our minds, but it didn’t end there; the incidents just kept on coming. Not too long ago, news emerged of 19-year-old Mahwish Arshad, the sole breadwinner of her family, being shot and killed for rejecting a proposal. Last year, 19-year-old Tania Khaskheli was gunned down in her own home ...

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Why didn’t Adnan Sarwar stick to Zenith Irfan’s original story for ‘Motorcycle Girl’?

“This isn’t a tale of derring-do, nor is it merely some kind of ‘cynical account’; it isn’t meant to be, at least. It’s a chunk of two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams.” When Ernesto “Che” Guevara wrote these words for his memoir The Motorcycle Diaries, one of the ‘two lives’ he was referring to may have belonged to Zenith Irfan, whose biopic Motorcycle Girl premiered last month. Irfan was 11-months-old when her father passed away, leaving behind a trail of unfulfilled dreams and a spray of handwritten letters. He had pined for an ...

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“Khud khana garam karlo” – Pakistani men’s kryptonite

There is very little doubt that the #MeToo socio-political statements on the internet are among the most powerful ones in recent history. Spreading virtually across the entire globe, the online movement has gathered its fair share of attention in Pakistan too and thankfully so. The recent Aurat March was proof of this movement affecting this country. What began as a protest against sexual misconduct, has now raged into something much bigger. It holds even more meaning in countries such as Pakistan, since not only is sexual misconduct ripe here, the country is still home to an extremely patriarchal society. The Aurat ...

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Why is a Pakistani man’s masculinity so fragile that he can’t handle rejection and resorts to murder?

The scariest possibility of simply expressing your lack of interest in a man may result in – wait for it – your death. Yes, you read that right! This is not even an exaggeration. For many though, this won’t come as a surprise considering the fact that in Pakistan, people reside with extremely conservative mindsets, not to mention the deeply rooted patriarchal cultural that exists here. The misogynistic norms are heavily supported, defended and backed up by this very patriarchal culture. They are contrasted in such a way that gives leverage and power to men to entirely silence (read: ...

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