Changing mindsets

A change in the mindsets of our communities’ elders should start from urban centres for now

Editorial April 26, 2018

The fate of couples who marry of their own free will is preordained for the most part. Their lives after that can never be the same again. It just does not matter where the couples met or where their marriage vows were solemnised. The toxic societies in which they live would never allow them to be either happy or together even. Sooner than later, one of the partners or both are targeted for daring to choose the person they want to spend their lives with. The saddest part is that their own families and blood relatives are willing to impose their punishment on the vague notion of honour. Despite religious edicts approving unions between two consenting adults and the provision of legal cover to free-will marriages by the country’s highest court more than a decade ago, incidents of killing of either of the spouse or a Jirga ruling deeming the marriage invalid continue to surface.

In a society like Pakistan, where arranged marriages remain the socially acceptable form of marital arrangement, the concept of free-will marriage or ‘love marriage’ is at odds with social and cultural fabric of society. Unfortunately, over the years, the number of murders reported post the nuptials has only increased in multiples which stood at an already high 219 in 2011.

In the case of villages and rural areas, the problem stems from both the local Jirga system and the social mindset that in spite of ruling verdicts as heinous as a young girl’s rape to settle a dispute between the parties, is still the legal resort for the populace. Hence, the need for a change in the mindsets of our communities’ elders should start from urban centres for now, where if not all, a significant proportion of the population has the liberty to exercise its own will when choosing a partner.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2018.

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Toti Calling | 4 years ago | Reply They say there is nothing constant but change and choosing our own partners is one basic change we need to encourage and respect. Parents help is fine but should only be one of the many options. After all a couple has to live their own lives and must get along with each other and learn to appreciate and like each others habits. Parents are parents, but do not own the desires of younger generations. I have seen many cases where the mother in law interferes and treats daughter in laws with no respect. That is not right.
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