KARACHI,January 30,2005:Tehrik-i-Niswan Cultural Action Group, in collaboration with the British Council, staged four plays at the FTC auditorium on January 28 evening to underline the need for putting an end to the custom of so-called honour killings.
The plays, performed admirably by the artistes including Tehrik-i-Niswan director Sheema Kirmani, were based on four real-life stories of women of various age groups who were killed by the men of their families on one pretext or another. The men, however, claimed that they had killed the women to protect their honour while the actual motive of the killings in most cases was either greed for money or revenge or sheer ignorance.
Earlier, the British Council director, Charlie Walker, said the production launched one component of an awareness-raising campaign, which sought to mobilize public opinion against the evil of honour killing in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.
“The campaign got under way earlier this month with the launch of a project linking the Sindh police with the British police in Northamptonshire. Two British women police officers shared their experience with local male and female police officers in investigating crimes of domestic violence, including honour killings. The number of cases of domestic violence being reported to the British police each year is increasing, and last year eight persons confessed to killing their relatives in the UK while many more cases remained under investigation. Building strong links between the two police forces provides opportunities for learning on both sides,” he said.
Ms Kirmani conceded that it was very difficult to create a play on the issue of honour killings. “There were so many aspects to be taken into consideration. It had to be performed in those areas and for that audience where these crimes take place almost every day. We invited a group of men and women from rural Sindh and with some members of the Tehrik team started brainstorming workshops. During these sessions, two of the Sindhi women shared with us their personal experiences of being accused as Kari,” she recalled.
The plays provoked much discussion afterwards as some among the audience, mostly men, insisted that it was wrong to shift focus from thorny political issues, such as the Kalabagh Dam and the Greater Thal Canal.