”Allah naseeb achay karay” – is a phrase you must have heard on countless occasions in life and spoken on a few as well. Ever since a girl is born in Pakistan, these words are uttered even before a basic congratulations, because unfortunately in patriarchal societies, this is what woman needs the most. Right from the first birthday, the parents start saving penny by penny in a struggle to attach a financial label with their daughter. Because no matter how capable, educated and talented she is, when she is tying the knot, the people are only going to see the materials or in decent vocabulary, the ‘gifts’ you are giving her.
25 years old Takreem’s henna was still fresh on her hands when she was brought to Daska Civil Hospital, taking her last few breaths. Her stomach was riddled with holes. Only three weeks after she was married, her in-laws forced her to drink acid. They fled the scene. Reason for this brutality was that when her parents were sending her to the new home, they only had their prayers for her and couldn’t offer anything more than that. This was the second case that happened only 5 days after Aneeba Shehzadi, 26, was poisoned by her husband in Daska. Why? Because the couple had a dispute over dowry. And of course, when you can’t offer the bride price with the bride – what do with a living, breathing human alone?
KPK saw a horrifying incident in 2015, where a man shot his fiance and her 9 other relatives over a dowry dispute. 22 years old Madiha was beaten regularly and was finally doused with petrol because she couldn’t bring a motorbike in dowry. And the list goes on.
Pakistan kills an average of 2000 women in the name of dowry every single year. With the rate of 2.45 per 100,000 women, beating India, Iran and Bangladesh, Pakistan stands number one in dowry deaths – a fact enough to lower our heads in shame.
On the other hand, dowry is a systematic practice which affects the lower class (puts the burden on them) and middle class (women are written off their right in inheritance this way) the most. It commercialises relationships and commodifies human beings. By deliberately turning campaign against a societal evil, claiming deaths of thousands of women yearly and is the cause of domestic abuse likewise, into a joke, we have shown once again that we are still afraid to see our dirty face in the mirror. And without seeing ourselves in the mirror, how will we wipe the dirt off?
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