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Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s documentary, “A girl in the River”, won the Emmy’s best documentary Award, in New York. She shared the news of triumph on her social media accounts on 5th October 2017.

With a powerful depiction of honor-killing, Chinoy’s documentary beat four other documentaries competing for the award.

Documentaries like, “Children of Syria”, “Welcome to Leith”, “Thank You for Playing” and “The look of Silence” failed to prove their mettle in front of an Oscar-winning documentary – “A Girl in the River”.

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Released last year, the short film is a story of a girl who survived an honor-killing attempt.

Prior to its selection in 38th Emmy Awards, the documentary won the Oscar for the second-best documentary in 2016.

The story is of a girl, Saba, 18, who married a man of her choice. To avenge the ‘disgrace’ she brought to her family, her father along with her uncle shot her in the head, put her in a bag, and threw her in a river.

The girl, however, miraculously survived, but her family, despite being arrested by the authorities evaded conviction. Hence, shattering all her hopes to get justice.

Read more: Riz Ahmad, first British-Pakistani to lift the Emmy Award

What has the documentary achieved?

This documentary soon after its release, shook the society and gained the appreciation for raising awareness on social ill of honor-killing.

Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, promised to do legislation to root out the menace from the society.

After the release of this documentary, two separate legislations were passed by National Assembly in 2016 to curtail the plague of honor-killing.

Anti-honour killing and anti-rape bills were passed under the bills titled, The Anti-Honour Killing law and the Anti-Rape Laws.

The bills proposed a life-sentence for honor-killers, despite forgiveness by the victim’s family.

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Are the amendments in law enough?

The passing of the bills and thereby the recognition of honor-killing as a grave crime is a good omen but fight against this menace is multi-dimensional and should not be confined merely to conferring sanctions and punishments.

Where the fear of punishment is a demotivating factor for potential honor-killers, efforts should be made to eradicate the romanticising of this crime.

According to a Human rights commission report, Pakistan recorded a rise by 15% in the cases of honor-killing, in 2014.

Whereas the statistics of reported cases suggested that nearly 1000 women were killed in the name of honor killing from 2012 to 2015.

Read more: Daughter of Pakistan shines at Oxford University

Among them, 860 cases were of female honor-killing while 344 were of rape.

The lack of education and dearth of women empowerment are major factors behind such cases.

The recent murder of Tania Khaskheli, a 10th grader from interior Sindh, who was shot dead by a man when she refused his proposal for marriage, indicate that much more needs to be done to curb this menace.

This also brings to question the strength of bills that were passed by Assembly. How can bills guarantee the safety of the victim’s family in the aftermath of the incident?

Hence, just sanctions and recognitions of the menace is not enough rather a multi-dimensional holistic approach is needed to arrest this heinous trend.

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