In reaction to the death and widespread outrage over the killing of 26-year-old Pakistani social media celebrity, Qandeel Baloch, the government is making moves to end ‘honour killings.’ Yesterday, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said the ruling party plans to pass the long overdue legislation against honour killings. The said bill will be presented to parliament today.
Born Fauzia Azeem, Baloch was drugged and strangled to death by her brother for posting sexy, raunchy photos and videos on social media, something considered abominable in a deeply conservative Muslim country like Pakistan. In his defence, Baloch’s brother, Waseem Azeem, said he killed her for the honour and dignity of his family, claiming that her “shameful” online presence had become unbearable. Waseem told the Associated Press, “I was determined either to kill myself or kill her.”
According to this op-ed by Pakistani filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, hundreds of women – Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission says thousands – are killed yearly by family members. Most times, this is done over the most ridiculous reasons, claiming they brought dishonour to their families. “Almost every day, you read about a woman who has been killed for ‘falling in love’ or ‘running away from home’ or ‘seeking a divorce’ and, in most cases, the only thing to blame is a man’s insecurity.”
A controversial Pakistani law allows for the victim’s family to forgive the ‘honour killer,’ and this often results in cases being settled with the payment of “blood money.” However, the new anti-honour killing law pending parliamentary approval, seeks to remove this provision. As reported by Reuters, Sharif said the government who has been negotiating with religious parties in parliament, wants a unanimous approval of the law. Read more