Oscar Buzz: Campaign to end honour killing in Pakistan

By: Maitreyee Boruah
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Bengaluru, Feb 27: This Oscar season is special for Pakistan. Not only Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's hard-hitting documentary, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, on honour killing in Pakistan has been nominated for the Oscars, but the Pakistani society is also hoping that the heinous crime, honour killing, comes to an end.

A massive campaign has been started by Avaaz.org to get 1 million signatures from across the world to be presented to the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to bring a strong law against honour killings.

Honour killing

Avaaz is a campaigning community bringing people-powered politics to decision making worldwide.

According to statistics, every year, more than 1,000 girls and women are the victims of religiously motivated honour killings in Pakistan. Most of these heinous crimes happen in rural parts of the country. Eighteen-year-old Saba, who fell in love and eloped, was targeted by her father and uncle but survived to tell her story.

"For marrying the man she loved, Saba's own father shot her in the head, stuffed her in a bag, and dumped her in a river. Then he walked free because of a loophole in Pakistani law that allows men to commit so-called "honour killings".

honour killing

But, incredibly, Saba survived and she has created a ray of hope to finally stop these outrages! We have two days to help her.

Saba's story is now an Oscar-nominated documentary, and it's all over the news. In response, the Pakistani PM just promised to end these heinous crimes, and sources say he's instructed his daughter Maryam to be part of the reform process.

But activists fear that the bill will only pass if the Oscar buzz is massive and public pressure is sustained," said the petition on Avaaz.org. 

"Let's urgently get 1 million of us behind a reform bill before the Oscars on Sunday to ensure Saba's story has the global spotlight, and then deliver it directly to the Prime Minister to help him push for a strong law. Sign and share with everyone, before we lose this moment," added the petition.

Here is the Avaaz petition

"To me honour killing is premeditated, cold-blooded murder but the justification given by men when they kill a woman is that she did something without permission, or that is out of bounds of what society deems is okay for a woman," Obaid-Chinoy told CNN.

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