‘Kari Nahin, Shaheed Aurtien’ launched

Thursday, December 04, 2008
Myra Imran
Islamabad

As part of ongoing activities to commemorate ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence,’ a book declaring ‘kari’ women as martyrs was launched here on Wednesday.

Compiled and published by Aurat Foundation, the book titled ‘Kari Nahin, Shaheed Aurtien,’ is a collection of articles, poems and thoughts of gender sensitive persons working in social, political and human rights organisations. Also mentioned are the statistics of violence against women, especially honour killings and other heinous customary practices.

Intending to create awareness among the masses and send a message to the people sitting in the corridors of power, the book also lobbies for the Bill on Domestic Violence that is lying pending with the Ministry of Women’s Development.

To pay tributes to all those women who have been and are the victims of societal violence, especially those martyred in the name of honour, the book is dedicated to them and their sacrifices.

The book presents a complete picture of national and international policy commitments of the government regarding women while regretting that there is no national policy on violence against women.

The launch of book was followed by a thought-provoking ‘Mushaira’ in which women rights activists and poets expressed the feelings of women, majority of whom experience violence in one way or the other during their lives.

Those who presented their emotional and passionate poetic verses included Mehmooda Ghazia, Farkhanda Shamim, Aliya Mirza, Mumtaz Begum, Shamim Ikramullah, Fehmida Riaz, Farhana Wahga, Marvi Sermed and Mehboob Sada.

Dealing with the issue — from psychological violence faced by a little girl in the form of gender discrimination to burial alive of women in the name of honor — the poets made many eyes wet while describing the feelings a woman pass through different stages of life.

Speaking at the launch, Rakhshanda Naz of Aurat Foundation said that recent research had revealed that 90 percent of women face violence in one form or the other in the country. “A society cannot be called civilised until it has zero tolerance for violence against women,” she added.

Justice Majida Rizwi said that there was a need to reach victims of violence in the rural areas, as they were not able to enjoy the freedom available to women living in the urban regions. “The government and civil society should chalk out a mechanism to provide legal protection to women living in the far-flung areas as the most heinous cases of violence happen in those areas,” she stressed.

Human rights activist Tahira Abdullah said that the days of activism should be about violence against women instead of dedicating them to gender violence. “It’s the men who inflict violence on women most of the time and the terms we use should reflect the fact,” she said.

A postcard urging all segments of the society to join hands to end violence against women was also launched on the occasion. The message inscribed on the card demands zero tolerance for violence against women from both the government and society and calls for elimination of anti-women customs and traditions.

thenews.com.pk

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