One million signatures and new property laws for women in Pakistan

Violence against women is a human rights and health emergency in Pakistan— rape, honour-killing, trafficking of women, burning, acid attacks, denial of inheritance rights, giving of girls as compensation and other social and economic discriminations are commonplace. But there’s good news and important forward movement to report.

A Pakistani regional assembly has passed a law making it illegal for parents not to extend property rights to female family members, reports Radio Free Europe.

The new bill, passed in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region, in Northwest Pakistan on January 5, would punish those who refused property rights to female family members with five years in prison and a 50,000 rupee ($550) fine. Under Shari’a law, the existing standard followed by the province’s government, a daughter should receive half as much property as her brother. The new law changes that.

This is the campaign song for a new campaign that is underway to gather one million signatures in support of women’s rights. Sung by Pakistani singers Nouman Javaid and Khawar Jawad the song, “Socha Kabhi naa,” calls out to men around the country to listen to the voices of women and to denounce gender-based violence in all forms.

The campaign is collecting signatures, commitments and public resolutions from all provinces, and a charter of demands from 56 districts in Pakistan, which will be presented to the Prime Minister and President by February this year. You can also sign your support.

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