International Sindhi Women Organisation, British Pakistani Christian Association and Hindu Human Rights Group held a collaborative peaceful demonstration
in front of 10 Downing Street, London, on Saturday 19th June 2016.
Campaigners decided to hold the protest due to a deep concern about recent honour killings that saw the death of numerous young girls and women,
because of their choice to marry with their own will.
ISWO officers Dr Humairah Soomro, Dr Afsana Bhurghri, Rubina Greenwood, Sasuie Laghari, Saima Qureshi, Sunita Khan , Sadaf Solangi, Anita Thaeem,
Marvi Baloch and Khadija Mahar spoke at the event. Together they strongly condemned violence against women describing honour killing, rape,
forced religious conversion through marriage, acid attacks and denying of women’s rights to marry at their discretion, as utterly condemnable acts.
ISWO demanded that the Pakistan government take strict action against these crimes and take serious steps to implement the laws to protect women rights.
Khadijah Mahar said:
“I request the British Government to implement clauses to support women’s rights before giving financial aid to Pakistan. The Pakistani government must ensure that women’s rights are protected and that some of these funds are used to support and protect women of abuse and those at risk. Statutory authorities must take serious action against those involved in these heinous crimes.”
Ranbir Singh,Chairman of the Hindu Human Rights Group, said:
“It was good that today we were able to highlight honour killings, forced child marriage, acid attacks and other means in which women and girls are degraded in Pakistan. Whenever British foreign aid is budgeted these factors should be assessed. At present there is a sever lack of accountability when such aid is utilised.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“1000 minority girls are kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriage every year of which 700 are Christian. That is almost two a day and yet the world stays silent?”
“In the brick kilns that continue to proliferate in Pakistan we find slave women are being raped while their husbands work for their masters. These attacks continue despite anti-slavery laws that have been implemented in Pakistan since 1992. Shama and Shahzad are a case in point and their brutal murder illustrates what happens to victims, when they try to protect themselves from further abuse.”
He further added:
“Last week a Christian man killed his own sister after she chose her own husband, who her family disapproved of, because he held the same caste [social group] as the girl. Amongst Christians a marriage within caste is seen as incestuous, despite the family link in this case having passed through untraceable generations.. She was beaten to death by a stick while her parents stood and watched. Later the brother expressed remorse after the killing, however, it was too late to save the poor young woman. Pakistan’s national curriculum discriminates against women and inculcates that they are objects rather than beings. Pakistani Christians [especially those un-churched as was in this case] sadly are not immune to the hatred taught in schools and these texts must change for the good of overall society.”
Wilson Chowdhry speaking on Geo News