PAKISTAN SAYS GOODBYE TO THE CRIME OF HONOUR

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The drama of women in Pakistan are victims of violence by family members. The work of award-winning director and her contribution to ruling National Assembly. Women of a completely different culture, but joined with us in the fight against all forms of violence, a struggle that has found its celebration last November 25 with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won two Oscars for best documentary short film, one in 2012 with “Saving face” and the other in 2016 with “A girl in the river: the price of forgiveness”.

Sharmeen, 38 years old, filmmaker and Pakistani journalist, has won two prestigious statuettes and trod the red carpet at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Together with other activists, she inspired her country to approve the law against honor killings, which took place last month. It is a measure of historical significance which provides a penalty from 25 years to life imprisonment and abolishes the so-called “forgiveness” from the families of the victims. According to data provided by the Commission on Human Rights of Pakistan, in 2015 killings of women by a relative were 1,096 (although the real figure appears to be much larger) performed because, in almost all of the time, was disapproved of the female conduct. Just because of rules introduced thirty years ago, in Pakistan it was possible avoid prison if the murderer was pardoned by the victim’s family.

Last year, in july the murder of 26 year old blogger Qandeel Baloch caused quite a stir by thousands of followers on social networks and she has been criticized by conservatives of her country because she attempted to break down the taboos to which the Islamic society is saturated. Qandeel Brother felt dishonored by her social statements and, after drugging her, he strangled her but then he regained freedom with the help of a lawyer who has argued just the crime of honor.

Today, with the new law, the “pardon” can save the killers only by the death sentence, but it can no longer avoid prison. “In some towns or villages of Pakistan – said Sharmeen presenting the documentary” A girl in the river: the price of forgiveness “- there are still people who think that honor killings do not represent a crime, because no one goes to prison. So, with my work I wanted to denounce this situation. People have to realize that they are serious crimes that are not related to religion or culture. They are premeditated murders that they must be punished with prison. Honour killings are like an epidemic, and I believe that no woman can feel safe until  all “responsible for these crimes” are confined in prison.

In “Saving face”, the filmmaker shook the world bringing to light the tragedy of Pakistani women scarred by the acid by husbands or family members. The report followed the work of a plastic surgeon who tried to save the face of these women through a series of painful surgeries.

In her latest work she tells the true story of Saba, a 19 year-old ran away from home after falling in love with a boy from a very poor neighborhood of Islamabad. Brutally beaten by her father and uncle because she dared to choose a guy who is not within the rules established by the family, the two men arrive to point a gun to her head and shoot a shot, on the bank of a river. The shot, miraculously, is not mortal wounds her one eye and mouth but does not take vital organs. Father and uncle, however, think that she died: wrap her in a burlap sack and thrown into the river, sure to have restored the honor of the family. Saba instead manages to survive: she, unlike many other Pakistani women has escaped the cruelty of the crime of honor.

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