Pakistani film about honor killings may lead to law amendment

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy from the Oscar-nominated documentary short subject "A Girl in the River.Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy from the Oscar-nominated documentary short subject "A Girl in the River.Photo.REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

An Oscar-nominated documentary about honor killings could lead to an amendment in Pakistan, where a loophole in the regulations ensure that the killers mostly go free.

Saba Qaiser (19) married the man she loved. Because of this, her father shot her in the head, stuffed her in a bag and dumped her in the river. Then he went free because of a loophole in the Pakistani law.
Saba survived miraculously, and her story has now been made into a film. The 40-minute documentary film “A girl in the river” by the Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is nominated for an Oscar award for best short film. The award ceremony will be on Saturday night.
Honor killings have long been an sticky issue in Pakistan. Every year, at least 1,000 girls are killed to in order to “rescue” the family honor. According to experts, the figure is much higher, but many of the murders are never discovered.
– I wanted to start a debate on this, Obaid-Chinoy says to the German news agency DPA. In 2012 she won an Academy Award for the film “Saving Face” about acid attacks on Pakistani women.
In 2004, Pakistan made a law against honor killing. However, at least 70 percent of the perpetrators still goes free because of a loophole in the law.
The loophole is a clause that the offender may be forgiven by the victim’s family. And since such killing usually takes place within one family, the cases are “killed off”.
– This law is practically useless in protecting women, Rabeea Hadi from the women’s organization aurat says to DPA.

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today