Stories about honour Killings

“Patriarchy ka janaaza”: The outrage is proof that we need more Aurat Marches

I’m marching through the streets of Karachi, I’m marching through the streets of Karachi. My feet connecting with the cold hard concrete of Saddar, I feel my heart beating. I’m pumping my fist in the air, I’m waving my poster side to side, I’m feeling safe, I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin. I’m screaming “Azadi” at the top of my lungs. I’m looking around. Documenting this moment for today, For every day, For all my tomorrows. – Aurat March 2019. Last Friday was International Women’s Day, and to spread awareness about the Aurat March, #WhyIMarch was trending on Twitter and various other social media platforms. Women shared their truths and spread the ...

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Human Rights Day: What will you ‘celebrate’, Pakistan?

Every year, December 10th is marked as the Human Rights Day. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that lists down basic human rights guaranteed to the population of the world. This year marks the 70th anniversary of this resolution. It is important to note that sustainable growth is not achievable until and unless the human rights of the world are protected. Besides commemorating 70 years of the resolution, we should vow to stand for the civil, economic, political and cultural rights of our people; after all, ...

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Two years and two bills later, Qandeel Baloch and honour continue to turn in their graves

It has been two years since social media sensation Qandeel Baloch was brutally murdered by her brother in the name of honour on July 15, 2016. Her death – much like her life – attracted wide publicity in Pakistan and abroad. It galvanised legislators to make superficial changes to the honour killing legislation in Pakistan. In reality, these changes have had little (to no) impact on the number of honour killings in Pakistan. Six days after Qandeel’s death, a parliamentary committee approved an honour killing bill that sought to bridge the gap in the existing honour killing legislation in Pakistan. ...

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Sorry Karan Johar, but Dhadak lacks the rawness and simplicity of Sairat

The much-awaited trailer of Dhadak, starring Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter dropped on the Internet a few days ago, and gathered responses and reactions from people that reached a feverish and vehement pitch instantly. Dhadak, much to the disbelief and disappointment of people, could not strike a positive note and received cruel social media grilling and flak. Dhadak is an adaptation of the critically and universally acclaimed, hard-hitting Marathi blockbuster Sairat. The movie revolved around the deep and unconditional yet forbidden and doomed love story of two youngsters from different classes of society – Archana (Archie), the indulged daughter of an ...

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In Pakistan, rape might go unpunished, but a movie on rape cannot

I recently came across the news regarding the ban on Verna, Shoaib Mansoor’s upcoming film, and was shocked, to say the least. Mansoor has played a monumental role in the revival of Pakistani cinema, delivering masterpieces like Khuda Kay Liye and Bol. Not only were both great films, they were also centred on very important issues that plague our society today. Bol highlighted the practice of having innumerable children in the name of religion, especially when you cannot even feed them, giving us the legendary line, “Jab paal nahin saktey, tou paida kyun karte ho?” (When you cannot provide for them, why do you give birth to them?) Likewise, the movie Khuda ...

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Big Little Lies delves deeper than rich people and their rich people problems

On the surface and from its trailer, Big Little Lies seems like a trashy (albeit high quality) show about rich people and their rich people problems, with a little murder thrown in. The HBO show is based on Liane Moriarty’s novel  of the same name and is brimming with stars. It’s safe to say that recently, just about everyone has been talking about this show. There are schoolyard squabbles among parents, marriages crumbling from the inside, and glass houses with breathtaking views of the beach. But what the show actually brings is empathy to all its characters, even the ones that start off as clichés. Right ...

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How can 25 people collectively believe that raping a girl can constitute as punishment for the rape of another?

There is an unholy pestilence infesting the national soul and on July 18th in Multan, it manifested in all its hideous reality. The more one reads up on the incident which took place in Muzaffarabad in Multan, the more one descends into a moral sinkhole where nothing but the purest evil dwells. To punish the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl by a 16-year-old boy, the rapist’s 17-year-old sister was raped by the victim’s brother on the orders of a panchayat. As if that were not sufficiently vile, it has also been learnt that the mother of the rapist ‘offered’ her two older, married daughters to the ...

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Anti-honour killing and acid attacks bills: More laws to be buried in the graveyard of good intentions?

This past week, the Sindh Assembly passed two laws against honour killing and acid attacks. It is a commendable initiative and the first such act against honour killings in all four provinces and territories. The laws are adequately severe with stipulations such as no blood money is allowed to be granted, acid attacks are unbailable offences and suggesting that the capital offence may be given to those killing in the name of honour. Furthermore, they are reflective of a humanistic mind-set and the architects of it will have to do far more than merely draft it and push it through the red tape of senates and assemblies to receive accolades ...

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Do Pakistani female legislators actually represent women or merely serve as “proxies” for the wealthy and elite?

In the male dominated South Asian region, women are considered a marginalised faction of society. While describing South Asian women in politics, there are contradicting accounts. On one hand, there are examples of women like Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Hasina Wajid and Khaleda Zia as prime ministers, while on the other, the majority of women are seen as poor, illiterate and lacking political, social and economic opportunities. A general perception ascribed to women in South Asian politics is that they belong to higher social strata and certain political parties, which aides their journey into the mainstream political arenas. However, women in general still lack the opportunities to participate and represent in the ...

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In India, women’s safety is a promise no one can keep

It was Mother’s Day recently and we couldn’t stop gushing in our seasonal tribute about our love and gratitude for our parent. The rest of the day, we patted ourselves on the back and declared ourselves super mommies who deserved their day in the sun or rather the spa. But away from all the bleeding hearts and not too far away from the national capital, a mother spent the day watching her 10-year-old girl in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Days later, she continues to do so. There can’t be a bigger irony, because our declarations on social media don’t have a pulse on ...

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