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There is no honour in honour killing

“She brings a bad name to Pakistan”, the first comment I heard from a friend after Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won 2nd Academy award for best documentary short subject for A Girl In The River in the 88th Academy awards. Her documentary shed light on honor killings in Pakistan and followed the story of a teenage girl shot in the face by her own family.

I ask you, how on earth highlighting such menaces brings a bad name to Pakistan?

Let’s face it. According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, only in the year 2014, 1,005 honor killings were reported out of which 923 were women and 82 minor girls. In 2013, 869 cases were reported. And as a journalist, let me write with full responsibility that there are hundreds of unreported cases, so the number is much higher than it is reported in the media.

It means that only in 2014, one thousand and five women, including minor girls lost their lives to what they term as honor killing. What is honor killing? Who decides that the women should be killed because she has brought a bad name or shame to the entire family? Are cases of brutal killing registered? Who made the law in which you can kill somebody for the choices they make? Who are self proclaimed saviors of families’ honor who unlawfully convict a girl for bringing a bad name? Or wait, is a girl ever asked if she wants to say something in her defense? Is she ever listened to? Any answers?

I write this now because a lady has already stood up for this. She has made a film and the world now knows what state of affairs our rural areas are in, how women are treated there, how precious lives are lost, how the justice system doesn’t even exist there, how nobody dares to challenge the norms.

It is because of Sharmeen’s film that has brought long awaited attention to the subject and fortunately Prime Minister of Pakistan has not only congratulated Sharmeen but also all provincial assemblies have passed unanimous resolutions to congratulate Sharmeen and a debate on the issue of honour killing has started and soon there will be legislation and the day is not far when perpetrators will be tried and sent to hell.

I don’t understand those who criticize her for bringing a bad name to Pakistan. Would anyone want honor killing to happen in Pakistan? Why not fix the issue than blaming the messenger? Is there any honor in so called honor killing?

It’s about time we got rid of honor killings, the menace of feudalism and tribalism. It’s about time government does legislation to stop settling such issues among families but there should and there must be legal punishment to curb it for now and forever.

I am proud of you Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. On one hand you highlighted the plight of Pakistani women and on the other you showed the world that a woman like you too exists in Pakistan, who can speak and make the world listen, a lady who can challenge the patriarchal society. Thank you so much for highlighting the issue that should have been raised and been resolved ages ago. Thank you for staying strong and sticking to the purpose. There’s no HONOR in HONOR KILLING.


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