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Published On: Wed, Feb 24th, 2016

Pakistan: Protect women from “honour” killings

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For marrying the man she loved, Saba’s own father shot her in the head, stuffed her in a bag, and dumped her in a river. Then he walked free because of a loophole in Pakistani law that allows men to commit so-called “honour killings”. But, incredibly, Saba survived and she has created a ray of hope to finally stop these outrages! We have four days to help her.

Saba’s story is now an Oscar-nominated documentary, and it’s all over the news. In response, the Pakistani PM just promised to end these heinous crimes, and sources say he’s instructed his daughter Maryam to be part of the reform process. But activists fear that the bill will only be passed if the Oscar buzz is massive and public pressure is sustained.

Let’s urgently get 1 million of us behind this law before the Oscars on Sunday to ensure Saba’s story has the global spotlight, and then deliver it directly to the Prime Minister to help him push for a strong law. Sign and share with everyone, before we lose this moment:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/pakistan_end_honour_killing_loc/?bWiHveb&v=73183&cl=9524224141

Around the world a woman is killed every 90 minutes in an honour crime. Although Pakistan passed a law in 2004 against these murders, 70% of perpetrators in Pakistan walk free because of a “forgiveness” loophole in the law. If a woman is seen to bring “shame” on her family by refusing to enter an arranged marriage, looking too long at a boy, or even being raped, a man is free to kill her as long as another family member forgives him! There is a nobility in communities that value and protect their honour. But these killings are not about honour, they are about seeing women as property.And the forgiveness loophole protects that right to own and kill women and girls.

A bill was tabled to eliminate this “forgiveness” clause, but it died without a powerful member of the ruling party to champion it.The Prime Minister, who has never before acted on this, has promised legal reforms to stop these crimes and involved his daughter, who is considered the heir to her father’s political party. But there will be push-back and experts say only global attention can give Saba, Maryam, and women’s rights activists across Pakistan the backing they need to change the system.

We have four days to make sure the Pakistani Parliament feels the world is watching and we won’t go away until “forgiveness” for honour killings is finally removed from Pakistan’s law. Let’s make sure attention to Saba’s story at the Oscars is massive, and then take our call to Pakistan. Sign and share now to get the word out everywhere: 

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/pakistan_end_honour_killing_loc/?bWiHveb&v=73183&cl=9524224141

We can make it happen. When Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban, the world was outraged. In response, nearly 1 million of us called on the Pakistani government to fulfill her dream of education for all. After our petition was delivered directly to the Pakistani President, he launched a stipend programme for 3 million children. This is what happens when we come together! Let’s stand with the brave women of Pakistan now to help them create laws that protect them, cultures that defend their dignity, and communities that support their right to choose their own destinies.

With hope and determination,

Nell, Alaphia, Ari, Dalia, Ricken, Luis, Ben and the rest of the Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION:

Human rights group reports rise in ‘honour killings’ in Pakistan (UPI)
http://www.upi.com/UPI-Next/2015/06/25/Human-rights-group-reports-rise-in-honor-killings-in-Pakistan/51429857038598/

Her father shot her in the head as an ‘honour’ killing (New York Times)
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/opinion/sunday/her-father-shot-her-in-the-head-as-an-honor-killing.html?_r=0&referer=https://www.google.com/

Crime and punishment in Pakistan (Vice News)
https://news.vice.com/video/crime-and-punishment-in-pakistan-extra-scene-from-the-kohistan-story-killing-for-honor

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif terms honour killing a ‘stain on country’ (NDTV)
http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/pakistan-pm-nawaz-sharif-terms-honour-killing-a-stain-on-country-1277658

PM Nawaz Sharif vows to eradicate honour killings after Oscar nod (The Express Tribune)
http://tribune.com.pk/story/1027967/pm-nawaz-vows-to-eradicate-honour-killings-after-oscar-nod/

Senate unanimously passes 3 rights bills (The Nation)
http://nation.com.pk/national/03-Mar-2015/senate-unanimously-passes-3-rights-bills

The case of Saba Qaiser and the film-maker determined to put an end to ‘honour’ killings (Guardian)
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/feb/14/sharmeen-obaid-chinoy-interview-saba-qaiser-honour-killing-documentary-girl-river-oscar-nomination

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