Documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has once again been successful in making Pakistan proud. Her recent documentary A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness was shortlisted for an Oscar nomination.
Like her previous Oscar-winning documentary, Saving Face, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness is a work that raises an issue that is common in Pakistan but is not given the urgent attention it requires.
The documentary highlights the problems faced by acid attack victims in Pakistan and how they are struggling for their rights and for justice to be served. It also highlights the issue of honour killings in the country, which in many parts of the country, is a longstanding cultural tradition. Every year, more than 1,000 women are killed in the name of honour by their family members.
More filmmakers like Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy need to come forward and bring to the fore issues that are common but considered taboo and controversial in our society.
What amazes me is that honour killings have existed in this modern age of enlightenment for far too long, but our prime minister only vowed to act upon it and eradicate them after the documentary received an Oscar nod. Why is it that for any major step we always wait for a push? Root problems and issues must be the highest priorities for any government. Building roads, metros, motorways is also very important for a nation, but when fundamental issues are not addressed, these developments and efforts all go in vain.
Until and unless legislation is passed to criminalise honour killings and its strict implementation is ensured, these vows are of no use for the public. It is about time that we realise the importance of life that is granted to us by God and in order to move forward as a nation, we must eradicate such evil practices. Indeed, there is no honour in killing!
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2016.
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