Murder Of Ex-Diplomat's Daughter Sparks Outrage Over Femicides In Pak.

Grisly Murder Of Ex-Diplomat's Daughter Sparks Outrage Over Femicides In Pakistan

Social media erupted with furious disgust, and there have been protests and vigils in major cities

Islamabad:

A grisly murder in the heart of Islamabad involving families from the privileged elite of Pakistani society has dominated headlines for the past week, stirring national outrage over femicides in the South Asian nation.

Noor Mukadam, 27, the daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat, was found beheaded in a posh neighborhood of the capital on July 20. Police have charged Zahir Jaffer, a U.S. national and scion of one of Pakistan's wealthiest families, with murder.

Investigators say the two were friends, and Jaffer lured Mukadam, the daughter of Pakistan's former envoy to South Korea, to his home, held her there for two days, and then brutally murdered her.

Hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan annually, and thousands more are victims of brutal violence, but few cases get sustained media attention, and only a small fraction of perpetrators are ever punished.

This killing though, which touched a segment of society that is often thought to be immune to that systemic injustice, has sparked a public outcry unlike any other recent case.

"The status of the families involved, especially the family of Zahir Jaffer, and of course Noor's father being a former ambassador, and this happening within the elite circles of Islamabad...all of that combined definitely has brought more attention to this case," commented Nida Kirmani, Associate Professor of Sociology at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Mukadam's murder has become the most keenly reported femicide in recent history. Social media erupted with furious disgust, and there have been protests and vigils in major cities, as well as among the Pakistani diaspora as far away as Canada and the United States.

Facing public anger, the Jaffer family took out full page advertisements in newspapers distancing themselves from the murder and calling for justice.

Life for women in Pakistan's rural areas is markedly different from that in urban centres, particularly Islamabad, where chic cafes and shopping areas cater to the city's mix of wealthy intelligentsia, government officials, diplomats, expatriates, and foreign journalists.

For many women in the country's capital, even that semblance of freedom and safety has been shattered.

"I have daughters, too, and I worry day and night if this happens to my own daughter who will stand with me?," Amna Salman Butt, told Reuters at a vigil for Mukadam in Islamabad this week that drew hundreds. "When someone mistreats us will we have to come up with hashtags too?," she said, referring to the #JusticeForNoor hashtag that has dominated Twitter in Pakistan.

"Every woman I have spoken to after Noor's case speaks about them feeling a heightened sense of fear, from the men around them," said Benazir Shah, a Lahore-based journalist. She said some complain of not being able to sleep at night.

While the daily twists and turns of the trial unfold in the national media gaze, rights groups in Pakistan say the government should pass a landmark bill meant to tackle domestic violence in order to assuage some anger.

The bill streamlines the process for obtaining restraining orders, and defines violence broadly, to include "emotional, psychological and verbal abuse."

Earlier this month, lawmakers sought the opinion of a council of Islamic scholars on whether the legislation adhered to Islamic principles.

Qibla Ayaz, who heads the council, told Reuters they had only informally discussed the bill, but felt its ambiguous language was unacceptable in Pakistan's conservative society.

"Does this mean that a daughter or wife can complain when a father or husband is stopping them from going outside the house? This may not be acceptable to all Pakistanis," he told Reuters.

"We all agree on the goal of stopping violence against women...but our sense is this bill might actually cause new social tension and lead to more domestic violence," Ayaz added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Related news
UK energy firms hold talks with government amid fears gas price hike could lead to shortages.

UK energy firms hold talks with government amid fears gas price hike could lead to shortages.

The government is meeting with representatives from Britain's energy firms amid fears a spike in gas prices could lead to food and fuel shortages. Sky News understands Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will spend today talking to senior executives...

Security high for right-wing rally in Washington DC - DW News.

Security high for right-wing rally in Washington DC - DW News.

Police in Washington DC are beefing up security to prepare for potential violence at a far-right rally. The organization "Look Ahead America" has called on right-wing and extremist groups to take to the streets. It wants to show support for those ...

Copy of the US Constitution from 1787 could be yours for $20MILLION as it goes up for auction.

Copy of the US Constitution from 1787 could be yours for $20MILLION as it goes up for auction.

A FIRST edition copy of the US Constitution from 1787 is going up for auction and could fetch $20million. The extremely rare edition of the “Bundle of Compromises” is being offered to the deepest pocketed bidder by Sotheby's come mid-November. Rea...

Tales from 100 years at the Prime Minister's Chequers retreat.

Tales from 100 years at the Prime Minister's Chequers retreat.

The six men and women who have been UK prime ministers seldom mix together except for solemn occasions such as funerals and Remembrance Sunday. The dinner to mark a century of prime ministers living at Chequers this weekend is not going to be the ...

Petito's fiancé, Brian Laundrie, reported missing from FL home.

Petito's fiancé, Brian Laundrie, reported missing from FL home.

Fox News 24/7 Headlines reporter Carley Shimkus on the latest developments in Gabby Petito's disappearance. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassin...

German election: How the Olds call the shots at the ballot box - DW News.

German election: How the Olds call the shots at the ballot box - DW News.

There's just a week to go before Germans head to the polls to elect a new parliament and a successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel. With voters deciding on key issues like the pandemic, climate change and the economy, it's being called their most im...