A small step for Pakistan

On January 5, a Pakistani regional assembly unanimously passed a law making it illegal for parents not to extend property rights to female family members, according to RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal reports.  Under Islamic law, a daughter should receive half the property from her parents as her brother would receive.  This  new law, which will be enforced in the northwestern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, would ensure that family members abide by this.  Those family members who refuse to give daughters their property would be punished with a 5-year jail term and a 50,000 rupee (approximately $550) fine.

This is a small step for women in Pakistan, who do not hold as much freedom as their male counterparts. However, I am hesitant to think that this will change anything for women because Pakistani women still face grave human rights violations, such as rape, honor killing and human trafficking.

Another reason I am hesitant to say this will change anything is because, although the law is in place, it is up to the women to acknowledge and fight for this right.  And since there are so many other factors, such as rape and honor killing still being commonplace in Pakistan, I feel Pakistani women will be reluctant to come forward and fight for their right (at least for the time being) because the fear of being violated or killed will paralyze them.

So until other violations and grave injustices are eradicated, or at least modified, small steps that Pakistan takes for the rights of women will have no true impact (Although, I do commemorate the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region for implementing such a law because it is a step in the right direction).


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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