Noor murder case

Published July 25, 2021

IT would not be an exaggeration to describe Pakistan as no country for women. This truth was underscored yet again earlier this week when the discovery of the bloodied, headless corpse of Noor Muqaddam shook the nation to the core.

The brutality of the murder, and society’s utter shock, notwithstanding, it is likely that this tragedy, like countless other anti-women crimes, will become just another statistic in a long list of patriarchal sins. Indeed, Noor’s case will be a test for the authorities in more ways than one. It is not simply about ensuring a strong prosecution team, foolproof evidence and a fair trial with a conviction and exemplary sentence being handed down to the perpetrator — something that is sorely missing in our criminal justice system. It will also be a test for prosecutors, investigators and witnesses to withstand the lure of money or the fear of clout that those who want a safe way out for the perpetrator may wield.

Meanwhile, the greatest test for society itself will be to look inwards and ask how we arrived at this point. How did the family of the suspected murderer, Zahir Jaffer, who has a possible criminal history that is said to have led to his deportation from the UK, not keep a vigilant eye on him, especially if he was mentally unsound as is being claimed? Indeed, it is dumbfounding that the suspect reportedly worked as a mental health counsellor at one controversial therapy clinic, where he received treatment. Was there complacency that his wealth and social standing would rescue him from any situation? Even one as horrifying as this? We have seen this sense of entitlement before in the Shahzeb Khan murder case some years ago. More recently, we have seen it in the early release of the man who stabbed Khadija Siddiqui 23 times in broad daylight in 2016.

Unfortunately, it is the second-class citizens who suffer most — and women in this country define that description. The fact that they are allowed to ‘exist’ at all may be some kind of a miracle given that practically every gender comparison shows the immense gap that exists between males and females. And the socioeconomic indicators are only the practical manifestations of a national opinion that sees women as unequal, sometimes as chattel, not important enough to be protected but fit enough to be blamed for all the atrocities they attract towards themselves.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Elections in India
Updated 21 Apr, 2024

Elections in India

Independent accounts and spot reports are at variance with Modi-friendly TV anchors and they do not see an easy victory for the Indian premier.
IHC letter
21 Apr, 2024

IHC letter

THIS is a historic opportunity for the judiciary to define its institutional boundaries. It must not be squandered....
Olympic preparations
21 Apr, 2024

Olympic preparations

THIS past week marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the Paris Olympics, with the symbolic torch-lighting...
Isfahan strikes
Updated 20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

True de-escalation means Israel must start behaving like a normal state, not a rogue nation that threatens the entire region.
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...