PM Nawaz vows to eradicate honour killings after Oscar nod

Published: January 15, 2016



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed Pakistan would eradicate “evil” honour killings as he congratulated director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on her Oscar nomination for a harrowing documentary on the practice.

“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”, which follows the story of a rare survivor, was nominated in the documentary short category of the Academy Awards on Thursday.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s documentary bags Oscar nomination

Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year on the grounds of defending family “honour”.

Their male murderers are then “pardoned” by relatives under the country’s controversial Islamic blood money laws that allow murderers to escape punishment.

A statement from the prime minister’s office late Thursday offered Chinoy, who made history in 2012 when she won Pakistan’s first Oscar for another documentary, the premier’s congratulations.

“Honour killings, the theme of the film, afflict several segments of Pakistani society,” it quoted Sharif as saying.

He “expressed the government’s commitment to rid Pakistan of this evil by bringing in appropriate legislation”, the statement continued, adding that Chinoy’s “insights” could prove helpful.

Two women murdered by in-laws in honour killing in Rahim Yar Khan

Chinoy said on Twitter that she was “delighted” that PM Nawaz had made the commitment.

“Next step is to push all the politicians to call a joint session & get the anti honor crime bill passed that has lapsed in parliament!” she said in another tweet.

“There is no Honor in Honor Killing- It is not part of our religion or culture- It is a stain on our society,” she said.

Chinoy was feted across Pakistan in 2012 when she won the country’s first Oscar for “Saving Face”, a 40-minute documentary that exposed the horrors endured by women who survive devastating acid attacks.

It focuses on two women, Zakia and Rukhsana, as they fight to rebuild their lives after being attacked by their husbands, and British Pakistani plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad who tries to help repair their shattered faces.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s A Girl in the River shortlisted for Oscar

Acid attacks, which disfigure and often blind their overwhelmingly female victims, have long been used to settle personal or family scores in Pakistan, with hundreds of cases reported each year.

The attacks along with honour killings fit a wider pattern of eroding women’s rights in the conservative Muslim nation, where women are frequently treated as second-class citizens and there is no law against domestic violence.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Shahid
    Jan 15, 2016 - 2:41PM

    Keep showing negative side of Pakistan to the world through international media and get rewarded with Oscars.Very simple, isnt it ? Same happened with Irani film makers. Nothing new.Recommend

  • Shahid
    Jan 15, 2016 - 2:43PM

    Why call it honour killing, why not punishment for adultery. Just a way of hiding facts. I agree individuals should not be judges but pushing a woman through the police and judicial system for adultery is worse for the woman and the family.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jan 15, 2016 - 3:25PM

    Nice move….but do something about Abdul Aziz who’s religious extremist views are openly flaunted and are a threat to this country.Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2016 - 4:14PM

    It took a documentary to take you notice??Recommend

  • Malik Saab
    Jan 15, 2016 - 4:26PM

    But Mr Nawaz Sharif could have added one statement that the timings of release of this movie along with the Recent Anti-Muslim Propaganda in America will not bode well. Republicans and Mr Trump are jumping on every news to terrorize America of the ills of Muslims. Miss Shirmeen could wait or atleast she could release this film in Pakistan but not in America. This timing is totally flawed.

    Even the Indian media is now bashing Pakistan by using the story-line of Miss Shirmeen.

    I am afraid such movies will only strengthen the Anti-Muslim hatred in America.

    Also I am afraid that Oscars are more like Political motivated statements rather than anything else now a days. For the West they select the movies based on Quality, story-line, video production and so on. For a developing nation like ours, there is only one criteria, that take the camera and start generalizing the whole country as evil.

    We cannot solve the problems of country by complaining to the strangers. This is what exactly is going on now a days. But i do not know when our elite will realize this. Recommend

    Jan 15, 2016 - 4:54PM

    we need to remove all zia ul haq laws which have turned our country into a disgrace Recommend

  • Tasadiq
    Jan 15, 2016 - 5:20PM

    Why did it take a filmmaker for PM Nawaz to promise to eradicate this evil from Pak? This is another hollow promise just like many other like eradicating load-shedding, building new flood defences, curbing extremism etc etc etc. Recommend

  • citizen
    Jan 15, 2016 - 5:29PM

    This is what Pakistani Society really is. Can we be called a normal people, a normal society, with normal values. We talk about religion, we pray, we fast, we go for pilgrimage, we do all the rituals, and after that we do what this article is about, and we think we are pious. We talk about tolerance, and this is how we put this into practice in our daily lives. We are a bigoted and a hypocritical society to the extreme, who else can even think about taking another persons life for the above reasons. Does it take a Oscar nomination to draw attention, another proof of the shear hypocrisy. Was this not happening before? it has been going on for perhaps centuries. Shame on us. Recommend

  • Mehreen
    Jan 15, 2016 - 6:01PM

    @SALEEM It is easy to bash one personality like Zia and put the blame on him. This is the favorite past time of so called Liberals. But kindly learn history and you will come to the conclusion that since from the inception of Pakistan this extremism is prevalent.
    Take a look at 1949 Objective Resolution ( Qarar Daad e Maqasad ) where a clear Distinction between a Muslim Pakistani and a Non Muslim Pakistani was used. The word minority was added for every non Muslim in 1949. So Zia was alive that time?.
    Similarly who brought the clauses in the constitution that has given the state to determine someone’s relgion?. It was Bhutto was did that. Bhutto shut the doors to Non Muslim to reach the highest office in Pakistan.
    Zia just added more salt to the already prevalent extremist environment. Infact It was Bhutto and even before , that led to the extremism that we see today.Recommend

  • excalibur
    Jan 15, 2016 - 6:52PM

    Chinoy yet again doing another Malala to be the Darling of the West by demonising all that is wrong in Pakistan,

    Project something positive about Pakistan and you will the reality of not even being noticed leave alone recognisedRecommend

  • Naeem Khan
    Jan 15, 2016 - 9:21PM

    The comments I see above seems to me blaming the Western World instead of looking inside our selves. I know for sure that we Pakistanis always self criticized which is commendable traits in our society but in cases of defacing by acid and honor killings we are looking the other way. There is no honor in honor killings, what we have a barbaric mindset and can’t forgive others for their mistakes, we expect others to be perfect by not realizing that human beings do make mistake. Instead of criticizing Obaid-Chinoy, we should be praising her for bringing this barbaric practice in the lime light. MY HEART FELT CONGRATULATIONS TO OBAID CHINOY, WE ARE PROUD OF YOU FOR JOB WELL DONE. Recommend

  • Timorlane
    Jan 15, 2016 - 10:01PM

    vows…wow!!! Recommend

  • GS@Y
    Jan 16, 2016 - 1:45AM

    @Shahid: Are you joking? ET, PLEASE REMOVE THIS PERSON’S COMMENT blatantly justifying the murder of women in the name of honor and punishment.Recommend

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