Aug 1, 2016
The recent murder of a social media star by her brother shows one more time the abject oppression of women in Pakistan.
Qandeel Baloch became very popular with many of Pakistan’s young women for what she posted on Facebook, including photos of herself in poses the Islamic authorities were unhappy about. Her brother shamelessly admitted to killing her for the supposed “honor” of the family.
Each year, almost a thousand Pakistani women are victims of “honor crimes.” And most of the time, these crimes are covered up by the authorities. This gives men the virtual right to kill women who dare to try to free themselves from the backward practices that make them basically house-bound slaves, charged with taking care of domestic matters and the sexual demands of their husbands who, for the most part, are not chosen by them. Qandeel Baloch had herself returned to her family, fleeing violence by her husband.
The crime against her brought waves of indignation outside Pakistan, as happened two years ago when a young Pakistani woman was stoned to death by her father, brothers and cousins, under the eyes of the police, for having married without her family’s permission.
But this barbarity should come as no surprise. Pakistan is a former colony of Britain where the religious forces took the leading role in society from the beginning of the decolonization process. Since then, they have been supported by the Western imperialist powers, especially the United States, which didn’t hesitate to arm the Islamic warlords to fight the Soviet army when it invaded Afghanistan in 1979.
That the Pakistani regime, largely supported by the big Western powers, keeps itself in power with the worst barbarous practices against women is no surprise. These practices don’t even enter into the calculations of the imperialist leaders.