ISLAMABAD: A large number of people on Monday gathered in front of the National Press Club (NPC) to protest social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch’s murder, who was killed for ‘honour’ by her brother in Multan last week.
Participants of the protest, which was organised by the Awami Workers Party (AWP), said only a few cases of ‘honour’ killings in the country were reported and that not even a complaint is registered with the police in the majority of such murders.
“Qandeel Baloch’s murder was not motivated by honour, but by the fragile ego and insecurities of men who fear women and refuse to listen to the women who demand to be seen and heard,” said journalist Mahvish Ahmad.
Also part of the protest were members of the Women’s Action Forum and Insaani Huqooq Ittehad, some of whom said that even in most reported cases, the culprits were not punished as they are forgiven by the victim’s family members, who are usually the complainants in the case.
Talking to Dawn, one of the participants Advocate Latif Hamdani said such cases should be considered crimes against the state.
“According to Qisas and Diyat laws, the wali has the right to forgive the culprit. This practice needs to be ended. Our patriarchal society gives men the right to do whatever they like,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that some people, especially some social media users, are saying there was a reason behind what happened. The state has to devise a clear policy regarding gender based crimes. A woman should first be regarded a human and a sister, daughter and mother second,” he said.
AWP Punjab President Aasim Sajjad Akhtar said the problem with Pakistani society was that men think they have a right to decide on the fate of a woman.
“I think some men should rebel against this thinking and raise a voice for women’s rights. The government has to stop [supporting] conservative groups. The local police and administration should take up these cases and ensure that the culprits are punished,” he said.
AWP member Ismat Shah Jahan said it was sad that some people celebrate when a woman is killed and that the state, on the other hand, does not take any legal action.
“The state is not interested in addressing women’s issues. We still have feudal and tribal systems which are creating problems for women and the state has brought religion into the mix, making life for women all the more difficult,” he said.
A participant of the protest, Madiha Tahir said that though it was a good thing that some men were raising a voice for women’s rights, women should come forward to claim their rights for themselves.