ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan would eradicate ‘evil’ honour killings as he congratulated director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on her Oscar nomination for a harrowing documentary on the practice.

‘A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness’, which follows the story of a rare survivor, was nominated in the documentary short category of the Academy Awards on Thursday.

Hundreds of women are murdered by relatives in Pakistan each year on the grounds of defending family ‘honour’.

Their male murderers are then ‘pardoned’ by relatives under the country’s blood money laws that allow murderers to escape punishment.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office late on Thursday offered Ms Chinoy, who made history in 2012 when she won Pakistan’s first Oscar for the another documentary, Mr Sharif’s congratulations.

“Honour killings, the theme of the film, afflict several segments of Pakistani society,” it quoted PM Sharif as saying.

He “expressed the government’s commitment to rid Pakistan of this evil by bringing in appropriate legislation”, the statement said, adding that Ms Chinoy’s “insights” could prove helpful.

Ms Chinoy said on Twitter that she was “delighted” that the prime minister had made the commitment.

“Next step is to push all the politicians to call a joint session & get the anti honour crime bill passed that has lapsed in parliament,” she said in another tweet.

“There is no honour in honour killing. It is not part of our religion or culture. It is a stain on our society,” she said.

Ms Chinoy was feted across the country in 2012 when she won an Oscar for ‘Saving Face’, a 40-minute documentary that exposed the horrors endured by women who survive devastating acid attacks.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2016

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