Pakistan is no country for minorities, it appears it is also no country for women. The recent killing of Noor Mukaddam have demonstrated the need for broader societal changes. The initial reaction of many in Pakistan to the incident was misogynist and sexist attacking the victim instead of the accused.
In a recent column, Rafia Zakaria wrote of “Loathsome and shocking” men (and some women) who took to social media “to heap blame on the victim instead of the perpetrator. Their anger, couched in advice to young women to watch where they go, to live according to the diktats of seclusion and silence, flows like a toxic river in their veins.”
According to Zakaria, “legal changes that would have an impact on the societal level are languishing. The Domestic Violence Bill for Islamabad Capital Territory was passed in April by the National Assembly, and later in June by the Senate. With some amendments, it was referred again to the Assembly. But the government’s parliamentary affairs’ adviser then made the controversial recommendation of sending it to the Council of Islamic Ideology for its input, stalling matters further.”
Zakaria ends by noting “The hope for a changed Pakistan that is not stuck in the mediaeval and dark recesses of victim blaming are dim. At the same time, one cannot emphasise how urgent the task of exposing, trying and convicting Pakistan’s femicidal maniacs and those who protect them actually is. Too many of them roam the streets, the universities, the workplaces, the malls of the country, hungry and drooling at the prospect of a new victim. One dead girl is nothing to them, but it should be everything to all of us.”