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Can Social Media Bring Justice for Women in Pakistan?

9 1 15
21.09.2021

The killing of a 27-year-old woman in Islamabad in July has sparked an unprecedented furor in Pakistan that hasn’t let up. Noor Mukadam was the daughter of a former diplomat and the man suspected of killing her, Zahir Jaffer, is the son of a business tycoon. Jaffer and his parents, who are accused of alleged involvement in covering up the crime, are in jail awaiting trial. The killing has stirred ongoing outrage on social media, where women—and many men, too—have found an outlet for their frustration with Pakistan’s systemic gender-based violence.

This month, Mukadam’s case was transferred to a special court for a speedy trial. New evidence against Jaffer and his family is surfacing nearly every day, including a police report underscoring that his parents were aware of the killing. Some of Mukadam’s friends organized a protest outside the Islamabad High Court last week to demand justice as the court weighed whether to grant Jaffer’s parents release on bail. Their petition was ultimately denied.

Meanwhile, Jaffer and his family are already facing a trial by social media, and online activists have made clear that an unfair legal outcome will not be tolerated. Mukadam’s killing has stirred a massive response among Pakistan’s civil society that could have ripple effects for women’s rights. In 2018, the #MeToo movement catalyzed some change in Pakistan, but defamation lawsuits against victims have stalled its progress. Mukadam’s case has galvanized a similar feminist movement, with a broader call for social justice.

The killing of a 27-year-old woman in Islamabad in July has sparked an unprecedented furor in Pakistan that hasn’t let up. Noor Mukadam was the daughter of a former diplomat and the man suspected of killing her, Zahir Jaffer, is the son of a business tycoon. Jaffer and his parents, who are accused of alleged involvement in covering up the crime, are in jail awaiting trial. The killing has stirred ongoing outrage on social media, where women—and many men, too—have found an outlet for their frustration with Pakistan’s systemic gender-based violence.

This month, Mukadam’s case was transferred to a special court for a speedy trial. New evidence against Jaffer and his family is surfacing nearly every day, including a police report underscoring that his parents were aware of the killing. Some of Mukadam’s friends organized a protest outside the........

© Foreign Policy


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