Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pakistani Woman Refuses Arranged Marriage Gets Charged With Blasphemy

Only in Pakistan does a refusal of marriage get you maimed or killed or possibly executed for blasphemy.

Combine arranged marriages with women considered to be chattel, and you have a recipe for disaster. And you can't always blame it on ignorance. Eraj Sajjad's dad is a senior bureaucrat in the Sindh government (so I assume he must be somewhat educated), who arranged for his daughter to be married to a wealthy businessman. She refused and the spurned would-be groom leveled a blasphemy charge against her. When she went to the Federal Interior Ministry for help- security and the charges dropped- they said sorry, no can do.

Federal Interior Ministry and Senior Minister Sindh Nisar Khuhro refused to help her. The Interior Ministry, in a letter to her, said that as she had been formally implicated in a case of a serious nature and this ministry could not help her.On the other hand, Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro, while refusing her any help, suggested approaching the proper forum of the court of law.

In her letter, she narrated that she had escaped from her residence in Lahore because her parents wanted her to marry a businessman Imtiaz Alam against her will. According to her, Imtiaz Alam belonged to a wealthy family and was an influential person therefore he managed to register a false blasphemy case by using his influence and money against her to get revenge as she had refused to marry him. In her letter, she sought protection and withdrawal of the false blasphemy case against her.

But it wasn't just Imtiaz trying to harm Eraj, according to Eraj when she fled her parents house, Imtiaz and her mum and dad wanted to honor kill her.

I suppose the best alternative to honor killing the woman is to charge her with blasphemy, which can garner the death penalty in Pakistan.


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