A young girl, murdered by her parents in an 'honour killing', signifies the latest in a series of events representing a violent expression of religious dogma.
A couple in Pakistan have been arrested on the charge of murdering their teenage daughter in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Anusha Zafar was seen by her father to be looking at a boy and was subsequently doused in acid by her parents.
Her father, Muhammad Zafar, is said to have taken her inside, beaten her and then denied her medical assistance, leaving her in agony until the next day. According to the parents, the family had already experienced ‘dishonour’ because of an elder daughter and couldn’t face further dishonour.
These horrific events come after increased attention on the phenomenon of ‘honour killings’ and an Oscar award-winning film, Saving Face, on the issue. Last year, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan recorded 943 women were killed in honour killings, a significant increase from the figures of 2010.
The alarming trend of honour killings comes amidst concerns about attitudes towards women in Pakistan.
In a piece in today’s Guardian, Mohammed Hanif writes about the restriction of education in Pakistan. Hanif reports every tenth child in the world who doesn’t go to school is Pakistani and the culture restricting education is not simply due to the Taliban but also a result of wider attitudes.
This state of affairs has been thrust into the public sphere by the plight of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai. Malala expressed anger at the Taliban militancy controlling her area and their restricting girl’s education. The Taliban shot her in the neck and head in a school bus.
Last week a girl’s high school was torched by a mob, as a reaction to “blasphemy” committed by a teacher. The blasphemous act in question was the result of photocopying the wrong page of a book.
Violence as a means of suppressing opposition opinion in Pakistan is far from new. Last March, Left Foot Forward previously reported on the assassination of the (Christian) Pakistan Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, for his support for blasphemy law reforms. And in January 2011, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was assassinated by an Islamist exremist because he objected to calls to amend the country’s controversial blasphemy laws.
Sign the “We are Malala” petition, joininh Malala’s fight for free expression; condemning the Taliban for their inhumanity; and supporting the right of every child in Pakistan to an education, regardless of gender or faith, here.
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