The Ministry of Human Rights has taken up a subject that is a taboo in Pakistan; denying women their inheritance share. It is indeed shameful that women are denied their rightful share in inheritance. Women are emotionally and often the times physically tortured to give up on their share in inheritance. Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) wants to change the prevalent practice as the ministry of human rights in collaboration with Council of Islamic Ideology has launched an awareness campaign that is aiming to educate people about the religious and legal protection provided to women’s right to inheritance in the country.

Statistics show an apparent link between gender disparity and the denial of women rights to land and property. Women’s land and property rights are fundamental to development, but the ground reality in Pakistan shows how families pressurise women to waive off her rights in favour of the male members of the society.

The impediments barring women from enjoying these rights are multifarious. Though the legal system grants women the right to own and inherit property, however, the customs and governing social practices make it virtually impossible for women to demand their share. Even the legal structure of the country instead of facilitating a woman in getting her rights, in reality, creates complications for her.

The irony is that the followers of Islam – a religion that in its time was revolutionary in protecting women’s rights including those concerning inheritance – forget all Islamic injunctions that protect women rights. It is hoped that the awareness campaign led by the Ministry of Human Rights will dismantle the overarching patriarchal practices of the society that do not want women participation in the growth of a community.

The initiative taken by the PTI government is a step forward in the right direction. If the campaign achieves success, it will empower women as women who own property can negotiate space for themselves with more confidence and independence as studies suggest.