June 08, 2016
Women’s Rights In Pakistan Gets Overdue Spotlight
Outrage erupted yesterday after police in Lahore arrested a woman suspected of murdering her daughter for marrying without family consent. Details of 18-year old Zeenat Rafiq’s gruesome murder, which include torture and being set on fire, have put Pakistan in the spotlight for its struggles with women’s rights and agency within marriage. This is the third major attack on Pakistani women this month, in which young girls were burned for either refusing marriage proposals or choosing their own suitors. Moreover, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reports that nearly 1,100 women were killed by relatives in Pakistan last year from honor killings.
What caused this violent surge?
Reporters have noticed a sharp increase in violence since the Punjab province passed a landmark law in February criminalizing all forms of violence against women. While the law was celebrated by human rights groups, more than 30 religious groups have threatened to launch protests if the law is not repealed. One government advisory council even asked to update the law to allow “light beatings“ for when, you know, the sandwich isn’t perfect.