‘Space shrinking for progressive women in Pakistan’ – Call to give exemplary punishment to Qandeel Baloch murderers

Islamabad—Pakistan is no longer a safe country for bold, independent-minded, progressive women and with every coming day, space is shrinking for them. Women of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) and members of civil society on Monday staged a protest demonstration outside the National Press Club condemning social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch’s murder and called for exemplary punishment to her killer(s). One could see the alarmed young female participants of the protest demo at the rise in number of the incidents of honour killing in Pakistan.

Qandeel’s blood they said would not go in vain and would pave the way for revolution. Tooba Syed a member of the AWP said woman’s life and reputation are always at stake and they are sacrificed in the name of honour, property disputes.

Madeeha Tahir another young member of the AWP said social media was bombarded with comments of men on the murder of women. This is high time they should withdraw one step and let women speak on this gory incident, she said.

Asmat Shah Jahan a senior member of the party said state, society and media should equally be held responsible for Qandeel Baloch murder. She also called for reforming the anti-honor killing law. She also urged womenfolk to actively participate in progressive politics of Pakistan. Human rights activist and a proponent of women rights Tahira Abdullah who was in mourning, said Women Protection Bill presented by Shehla Zia in 2004 was diluted by the parliament of that time. She called for implementation and adoption of the original bill purged of all the loopholes. About the number of deaths each year in Pakistan in the name of honor she said officially the number of deaths of women in the name of honour (around 1,200) is far less than the real figure. The original figures are around 6,500, she said.

Zubair Qureshi