In a country fighting to preserve patriarchal and tribal traditions, Pakistan’s women face unimaginable brutality.
Hundreds of women are murdered every year for so-called honour crimes – and these are just the ones of whom the authorities are aware. And for each woman who is killed, dozens more are forced into marriages or suffer in silence for other reasons.
It is a world where a woman has few rights in practice – she is the property of her family until she marries. Then ownership passes to her husband’s family, with the risk of death if she brings dishonour to the family.
The brutality against women is, at best, connived at by a wide majority of those who are not party to it. [An overwhelming majority of people in Pakistan wants Sharia law as the governing code and acquiesce in the implementation of Hudood Ordinance –an abominable set of misogynistic laws instituted by Gen Zia-ul-Haq- that made adultery punishable by stoning and lashing.]
Not long ago a young pregnant woman, Farzana Parveen, was stoned to death by her family in broad daylight in front of Lahore High Court as dozens of spectators including many policemen watched on. Frazana had married the man she loved rather than the man they had chosen for her.
This is the fifth case, where a mother in Pakistan has been instrumental in killing her own daughter, which I am seeing in the past few months – and I may have missed a few among those reported.
When this happens with such frequency in a society, I have no doubt, the society must drop everything else and address whatever has rendered it into a place where mothers kill their own daughters for marrying out of their choice.
It is nearly impossible for most people to understand how seemingly completely normal parents could deliberately murder their own daughter. Especially a mother….
Can you imagine the nightmares stirring inside a mother’s mind that would drive her to kill her child?
Even if a mother comes to believe that murder is the one thing to do to get out of the predicament, why doesn’t she take her own life instead of her daughter’s?
What causes such mental break from the legendary motherly love?
To me the answer is psychotic self-righteousness. Where will it stop?