— The Erimtan Angle —

Via the BBC: “Officials in Pakistan are travelling to a remote north-western region to find out if four women, who apparently sang and watched as two men danced, have been murdered in an honour killing”. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur share their take on religious fundamentalism and judging a culture (11 June 2012).

The BBC reported this story some days ago: ‘Officials in Pakistanare travelling to a remote north-western region to find out if four women, who apparently sang and watched as two men danced, have been murdered in an honour killing. Video footage of the men and women, who gathered as part of a wedding celebration, has been widely seen. Villagers say the women were later killed. Local officials deny this. The men in the video appeared in court on Wednesday charged with creating conditions for tribal violence. Local officials not only failed to produce the women in the court on Wednesday [, 6 June] but were also unable to produce any proof they were still alive, as directed by the court earlier’.[1]  The events took place in the remote area of Kohistan (or the Land of the Mountains).

And as it turns out, the culprit is not necessarily the “culture” of the area, but more likely the influence of a man, namely Maulvi Abdul Haleem. This religious leader, able to issue fatwas among other things, is a well-known enemy of women’s rights.

People, men as well as women, seldom act as a result of their own volition. A certain degree of persuasion and manipulation always helps. Last May, for instance, Abdul Haleem issued this decree, as he told a diligent journalist taking notes: “I issued a decree during Friday sermon [on 4 May 2012] that getting education for degrees by women is repugnant to Islamic injunctions because if a woman gets degree, she may use it for job, an act which Islam doesn’t allow in absence of mehram [close relatives]”.[2]  Rather than simply blaming “religion” or “culture”, these facets of human civilization are easily manipulated by power-hungry leaders of men, such as Maulvi Abdul Haleem, who unscrupulously further their own cause by exploiting the weak. The fact that Mister Abdul Haleem uses the sobriquet maulvi, denoting a high rank of seniority as a scholar of Islam, discloses his envious grip on power of his fellow-men in Kohistan. In a proud voice, the Maulvi even stated that “That’s why girls are not going to schools in Kohistan and girl schools are used as cattle pen”, [3] obviously referring to his own decrees and judgements.

 In order to give an idea of the terrible power wielded by the frustrated maulvi, here is a clip of two Pakistani Girls who have the good fortune not to be living in Kohistan and formed a band called The Cheapmunks.

 And here is a clip of Zeb & Haniya performing their surprise  hit song “Chup”.


[1] “Pakistan probes ‘honour killings’ of four women” BBC News (06 June 2012). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18341379.

[2] “Ex MNA from Kohistan Threatens Working Women” Dawn (05 May 2012). http://www.aboardthedemocracytrain.com/ex-mna-from-kohistan-threatens-working-women.

[3] “Ex MNA from Kohistan Threatens Working Women”.

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