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BBC Urdu puts a spotlight on women’s killings in ‘Murder and Honour’

MUMBAI: BBC Urdu brings the so-called honour killing of women in the spotlight as the new series, ‘Qatal o Ghairat’ (Murder and Honour), rolls out on TV, radio, online at bbcurdu.com and social media.

BBC Urdu is part of BBC World Service.

For three weeks, from Tuesday 6 December, BBC Urdu will deliver a comprehensive look at these killings – through special reports, animation, infographics and other digital tools, as well as discussions at universities and colleges across Pakistan.

BBC Urdu editor Mehvish Hussain said, “BBC Urdu has reported on so-called honour killings extensively – just as we do other issues that matter to our audience. With ‘Qatal o Ghairat’, we decided to bring together our journalistic and reporting strength to ask why these murders continue to be a widely accepted fact of life in the region. We hope very much that as many of our audience as possible will engage with us to answer this question.”

BBC Urdu reports with insights from Pakistan’s leading legal and media experts, legislators and activists, from various locations in Pakistan:

  • Khairpur, Sindh, where violence against women is endemic, to see if these murders are rooted in the rural culture
  • Landi Kotal, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where the local Jirga system of government is believed to be protecting and justifying such killings
  • Nasirabad, Baluchistan, where a murder over a property dispute is being presented as a so-called honour killing so it can go unreported to the police
  • Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where these murders are labelled as suicides
  • Lahore, Punjab, where a man, who was involved in the murder of his daughter for an alleged affair with her cousin was set free by the local High Court as he pardoned himself – invoking the forgiveness clause of the law on ‘honour killing’ – an old clause which was left unchanged in Pakistan’s reformed law on these killings
  • Shikarpur, Sindh, where the BBC gets exclusive access to a man who killed his wife who he ‘thought’ had a relationship with another man
  • Mazar Jo, Sindh, where the local Jirga is demanding that a girl be married into a family as ‘compensation’ following false accusations against them.

At universities in Karachi, Khairpur, Peshawar, Lahore and other cities, BBC Urdu will discuss with students all these issues – as well as how Pakistani media portray women. BBC Urdu will also report from the village of Haryana, India, on the legislative and social aspects of the issue in India. The BBC Urdu social-media platforms – Facebook and YouTube – will feature the films shot by the students involved in the debates while, across BBC Urdu platforms, audiences will be able to share their stories, in text or video.