In the name of honour

In the name of honour

By Saima Baig   Qandeel Baloch was an anathema for a country like Pakistan. Coming from poverty, she rose to become independent and support herself and her family. She was an anathema because she did not care. She did not care what society thought of her and she did not care if they made fun of her. She was the bold and the beautiful. And one year ago, on July 15, 2016, she was murdered in the name of that tenuous and all important property of Pakistani men: honour. Her…

They Called me Shameless

They Called me Shameless

By Scheherazade They called me shameless A disgrace For falling in love For wanting control over my own life The heart wants what it wants What could I have done? When I came home that night Trying to creep into my bed There they were Waiting for me instead. Rage on their faces. Slut Whore Beghairat, they said. All I wanted was to be free Soar with these wings Fly, wherever the wind would take me But I carried their honour Like a noose around my neck Which became tight Until…

Women like Qandeel Baloch must not die in vain

Women like Qandeel Baloch must not die in vain

By Iram Ramzan   Yet another woman’s life has prematurely been taken in an ‘honour killing’. Pakistani internet sensation Qandeel Baloch was strangled by her brother on Friday night while at her family home in Multan, Punjab. After going on the run, her brother Waseem was later arrested. In his confession video, he expressed no regret. “I am proud of what I did. I drugged her first, then I killed her,” said Waseem.”She was bringing dishonor to our family.” Qandeel’s posts were considered to be controversial in Pakistan. She rose to fame…

Islamophobia is a convenient word to shut down a debate

Islamophobia is a convenient word to shut down a debate

By Arshia Malik   Islamophobia is a term branded around very casually these days on anything and anybody who stands up to the regressive practices in Muslim culture and denounces their oppressive characteristics. The first to scream Islamophobia are the practicing Muslims themselves at ex-Muslims, or agnostic Muslims, or liberal Muslims who feel they should speak out against the various shortcomings in their culture, their religion, their text and their fellow Muslims. A disclaimer first – I am aware that many cases of discrimination and abuse against Muslims are on…

Pakistan’s Women: Honour and Shame

Pakistan’s Women: Honour and Shame

By Muna Adil   In February 2016, Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won her second Oscar award for ‘A Girl in the River’, her ground-breaking documentary on the practice of honour killings in Pakistan. A spectacular personal achievement for Chinoy, a proud moment for Pakistan, and an excellent opportunity for much-needed awareness and dialogue. But not everyone was delighted at the win. The morning after the Oscars, ‘#WeDisownSharmeen’ was trending in the number one spot on Pakistani Twitter. The crux of the argument against Chinoy was that she was ‘unpatriotic’ for…

Murdered By My Father: A Review

Murdered By My Father: A Review

By Iram Ramzan   “Someone’s always watching. Trust me.”   These are the words uttered by college student Salma in the BBC 3 drama Murdered By My Father, as she warns her boyfriend to stay away before someone finds out that they are dating. We have all been there, have we not ladies? Most of us, from South Asian or Middle Eastern backgrounds, where the notions of honour and shame are so important, have always been — and always will be — on our guards whenever we leave the house. Because no matter…