Stories about honour Killings

This Women’s Day, our celebrations remain incomplete

There was a time when women would hide their bruised faces with layers of foundation, fake a smile and accompany the husband to a family dinner 20 minutes after being beaten. They would weep in the bathroom when everyone, including the children, had gone to sleep. They thought they were being good wives, upright mothers and chaste women by letting the hurt fester. And then, somehow, somewhere, things began to change. Around 102-years after the first observance of International Women’s Day that took place on March 8 1914, Pakistan’s women are ruffling some feathers. A recent Facebook post of a young woman posting ...

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Protecting women is now an act of treason, CII? Really?

Pakistan’s efforts of six years at gender equality reached a fever pitch in the past two weeks. Late February the Punjab Assembly passed its Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015. Then last week Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy brought home her second Oscar for Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, a documentary highlighting the horrors of honour killing. Following an at-home screening of the film, the PM’s office took the unprecedented and impressive step of promising law reform. In response, several prominent clerics openly opposed and ridiculed the new law suggesting that not only was the new law against the spirit of Shariah but what is really needed is a ...

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Revisiting Islamabad’s Hotspot: The obvious sexism that no one notices

Hotspot – the place where all the brats and burgers of Islamabad ‘hang out’ Don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to bash these brats and burgers. Half of my friends come under this category and I love them. I’m not here to criticise Hotspot ice cream or food either. Their food is actually not bad. In fact, I’m not here to talk about any issue of importance. I’m here to talk about something insignificant. Something no one cares about because they don’t believe it is a problem. Something all these brats and burgers just accept and, consequently, condone. Something that these ...

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Fathers will continue to murder their 12-year-old daughters

The statistics available on domestic violence and other forms of violence against women are startling. According to a NIPS survey, 37 per cent of those surveyed experienced violence – 57 per cent in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). More than half of the women who have ever experienced physical violence have never sought help or told anyone about the violence. Forty three per cent of women stated that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she argues with him, neglects the children, refuses to have sex with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the in-laws, or burns the food. The stories highlighted by the media ...

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Pakistan, a nation filled with tolerance and forgiveness

Now and again, we are reminded that it’s impossible to politely engage everyone on this planet and no tolerant society should ever try doing that. It is important to begin by recognising that religious intolerance has a number of dimensions within it. Sources of religious intolerance, for instance, can be the actions or policies of governments and/or the actions or beliefs of individuals or groups in the society. Targets of religious intolerance can include members of specific religions or religion in general, people who choose to change or disregard their religion, and even the people randomly victimised by religion-related terror or armed ...

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12-year-old, for sale

I woke up in the middle of the night feeling a little wet between my thighs. Frightened about what it was that was happening to me, I sensed an uncertain feeling of guilt and shame creep up my spine. I live in a small room with eight other family members, so the first thought, after the panic, that came to my mind was, what if one of them saw me with these marks on my clothes? I picked up a lantern and rushed out of our bricked, one-room house, into the cold night. A strange sensation in my stomach wouldn’t ...

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Our honour was saved

I am a woman, But you could give me any name.   I am Bhavna; They named me desire. How ironic! Small desires I had, Sipping some wine and Seeing a beach. My love became my bane My rebellion, my curse. I challenged their honour So, something had to be done. They strangled my wishes And cremated my dreams.   I am Farzana; I carved a life And fought for it. They pelted my choice, They battered my soul, Their honour survived But my baby died.   I am the letter peeping through brackets; Reported often in the news, Shrouded in sheen, meem, kaaf, My story ensues.   I am the nanhi kali violated; They talk about in the news, My name is hushed, My identity draped, But we must thank our lucky stars, Our honour is ...

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Are all Pakistani women damsels in distress?

It feels really good to be a Pakistani woman these days. It brings a big smile to my face when I see five Pakistani women in the list of BBC’s 100 women of 2014. And no matter how controversial one may call Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize, there is no denying the fact that it has brought Pakistani women at the centre stage again. Yes, the world is often quick to assume that women in our country are weaklings – damsels in perpetual distress. For a very long time the west has considered them little more than slaves of their male counterparts. ...

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Will Canada be held responsible for Jamila Bibi’s death?

This is not the story of a helpless woman who fled from her country, Pakistan, because of accusations of adultery and attempts on her life. It’s not about how 65-year-old Jamila Bibi just could not put her trust in the legal system in Pakistan. This is the story of how even after she escaped certain, violent, retribution for allegedly committing adultery, her narrative was lost in the complexity of laws which first protected her and then threw her back to the wolves. Jamila Bibi sought asylum in Canada in 2007 because her life was in danger after her husband accused her ...

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What is the difference between dictatorship and democracy in Pakistan?

Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer is often referred to as the butcher of Amritsar who opened indiscriminate firing on the crowd at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, killing hundreds of peaceful protestors. Nearly a century later, when we have evolved into an independent country governed by Muslim leaders, his ghost lives on. In the recent barbaric incident of State brutality, the Punjab police opened fire on the workers of Dr Tahirul Qadri resulting in the death of eleven innocent civilians and over eighty others injured. The dead included two women as well, one of them pregnant. TV footages revealed how the government machinery ...

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