ISLAMABAD: The narrow-mindedness of Pakistani society towards its women continues to exhibit itself in the form of brutal killings in the name of honour. Even women of Pakistani origin staying abroad are not spared. Recently, two Pakistani women, who live in Barcelona, Spain were killed in Pakistan's Punjab province May 20 by their relatives for requesting a divorce from their husbands.
The women include -- 20-year-old Aneesa Abbas, and 24-year-old her sister Arooj Abbas. Aneesa was forcibly married to her cousin Atiq-ur-Rehman in 2020 and her sister Arooj was married to paternal cousin Hassan in 2019. In an interview to a Spanish news agency, Huma Jamshed Bashir, the president of the Cultural, Educational and Social Association of Pakistani Women in Barcelona, condemned the twin murders.
She claimed that women in Pakistan are treated like objects and currency of exchange, adding that presently there were over 30 women in Pakistan who have asked for help in getting a visa to come back to Spain after being falsely abandoned by their husbands or families on pretext of being impure or having extra marital affairs. These women are left without documentation and without their children as "punishment" by their relatives.
She attributes these instances to the patriarchal mindset of Pakistani society and viewed that problems begin when women want to become independent, study, earn money, learn languages, and become westernized. Pakistani men apparently could not accept this and they punish and insult women. Talking about the cultural difference, she highlighted that while Spanish women are capable of answering men, in Pakistan, nobody even dares to do that in many cases. Criticizing the mindset of Pakistani men, she underscored that while many men in Pakistan want a "pure and submissive" woman, at the same time they do whatever they want to and can have other partners.