Islamabad - On International Women’s Day, the former chairs of National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) have paid tribute to Pakistan’s vibrant women for their untiring and heroic struggles against discrimination and anti-women practices (karokari, vani, swara, forced marriage, etc) and for bringing women’s issues into the mainstream discourse.

The former chairpersons including Justice (Retd) Majida Razivi, Dr Arfa Syeda Zehra, Anis Haroon, and Khawar Mumtaz   also congratulated Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy for the Oscar she won for the powerful documentary, highlighting the reality of the violent practice of killing on the pretext of honour.

They also welcomed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement made at the screening of Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s documentary ‘A Girl in the River-The Price of Forgiveness’ that “there is no honour in killing” and that this kind of killing is “evil,” and that the law that gives impunity to murderers will be changed.

The NCSW for more than a decade has been advocating for changes in the Qisas and Diyat law through documentation and research and proposing amendments to fulfil the demands of justice.

It strongly believes, the statement said, that the time has come to review the Qisas and Diyat law to make premeditated murder (Qatl-e-amd) non-compoundable.

“We look forward to the forthcoming Joint session of Parliament and urge that positive consideration be given to the Bill passed by the Senate in 2015 for removal of provisions of pardon, compromise and payment in cases of honour killing.”

They also expressed shock and protested reaction from religious parties/groups and CII against the Punjab Protection Act 2016. The Act only provides for protection of women victims of domestic violence and should be welcomed as a first step towards eliminating the scourge of violence against women, they said.

“We are surprised that these leaders and parties seem to be agitating for the right to use violence against women and to deny them protection.

We call upon all justice loving Pakistani’s to support women’s right to safety and well-being.”