By: Zainab Bashir
Noor Muqaddam’s brutal killing in an upscale sector of Islamabad is another case being discussed on social media and mainstream media. But, will it be just another case with the same endings as Khadija Siddiqui stabbing and Shahrukh Jatoi’s case?. This is definitely a question that everyone is thinking about at the moment in Pakistan. Many such cases happen here but go into vein.
Society’s eerie silence after few days of censure and solace on social media after such incidents and the weak system actually pave the way for such heinous things to happen again and again. The ultimate end: winning of rich and strong, and losing of weak is another mighty hurdle in achieving a peaceful and pluralistic society.
The violence against women and the brutal killings will keep on going until and unless the weakest policing system and justice system, and big philosophical divide between individuals of our society exist.
For years now, in Pakistan, victims have been fighting for justice, and those who left the world have left question marks for the rest including you and me. Sadly even after empowering a voice against injustice taking place against women on a daily basis has resulted in nothing except a question over the justice system and government authorities of the country. Is “Aurat March” the only answer to the questions that victims have left for us? Sadly Noor Muqaddam murder case has left the country in a massive state of shock. The toxic approach of men and their dominant cruel behavior has taken one more innocent life “Noor Muqaddam’s Life” she was a free and independent person with open and free thoughts. A person with a slogan of “Hang them destroy them humiliate them, we won’t stay home so they can grow! No more” a picture of late Noor was found on social media where she was clicked with a banner expressing her thoughts of violence against women. In the 2019 “Women, Peace and Security Index,” Pakistan was ranked 164 out of 167 countries.
A Pakistani NGO, “White Ribbon” has revealed in their recent reports that 4,734 women had faced sexual violence between 2004 and 2016. According to their registered record “Over 15,000 cases of honor killings have been registered between 2004 and 2016. This is the “change” people of Pakistan have been fighting for. Noor’s case has left a question that how an individual woman from a middle class can ever expect that she would survive from the toxic approach of men around her. The country is not safe anymore for women of all classes. Noor’s case is one piece of evidence. We wonder how many Zahir Jaffer are free to commit offenses against women, no matter what statements are being published by the press the case is an open subject of a question mark on the authorities of the country and the people who were eyewitnesses of this incident. The murderer claims that “Noor Muqaddam was betraying him” but is that okay? To take laws into your hands? Is it okay to punish someone with death? Torture? Is it okay for the eyewitnesses to hide the incident for three hours? Have we forgotten what humanity is? We should question ourselves: who are those Zahir Jaffers among us?
Sadly we have questioned the clothes, campaigns, awareness slogans but neglected the actual issue; the violation of the dignity of women. The justice system needs to ensure that this case should be handled by a strong investigation team rather than waiting for the victims and their families to die just like others. The system needs to know that it is not okay to let women die first and serve justice after they have left the world. We need a strong system that believes in the importance of humanity and above all a non-polarized society when it comes to issues of general human dignity.
Everyone might forget Noor but her family won’t forever. We cannot heal the pain her brave father and the rest of the family are going through but we definitely can speak with greater strength and consistency for not letting this case go on the back burner and for not letting such cases happen in the future again.
The writer is a law student and works with ‘The Dayspring’, she writes on taboo issues and has been part of campaigns for women’s rights. She can be reached at [email protected]