Lahore (Web Desk) – SOC Films hosted a press conference on behalf of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for her Academy Award [Oscar] winning documentary, ‘A Girl in the River’ in Karachi on Saturday, 5th March 2016. The Price of Forgiveness won an Oscar award in the Best Documentary – Short subject category at the 88th Academy Awards. Indeed Obaid-Chinoy previously won Pakistan’s first Academy Award for her documentary Saving Face at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in 2012. She is one of only eleven female directors who have ever won an Oscar for a non-fiction film and the only Pakistani to win two Academy Awards. At this press conference, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy addressed the media and thanked the Heroes of Pakistan and honoured Saba as an incredibly courageous lady, civil society who has been working tirelessly for change, The Government of Pakistan, her colleagues, cast and crew and the media for their support on her campaign to end honor killings.
The Price of Forgiveness, directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, follows the story of a rare survivor who falls in love and lives to tell the tale. The young woman who miraculously survived the brutal attack by her father and uncle had the support of a local police officer who helped put them in prison. Initially, she fought the case determined to get the maximum punishment for the two perpetrators. But for weeks the young woman was pressured by the community elders to forgive and forget, to bring peace back to the neighborhood — and to release the sole breadwinner of her large family from prison. In her case she eventually had to forgive her attackers.
The law, as it stands, sees honor killing as an offence against the individual and not the State and hence the victim can choose to ‘forgive’ the perpetrator. If the victim is killed, which is often what happens in such cases, the family of the victim has the right to forgive the perpetrator. So when a father kills his daughter, his wife can forgive him and when a brother kills his sister, his parents can forgive him. This is how the current law is being misused.
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” has helped trigger a national discourse on the issue of honor killing in Pakistan. The film was screened at the house of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad, after which he asked his team to redraft laws on honor killings to help ensure that perpetrators are punished and victims are protected. The proposed amendments to Pakistan’s penal code, which would end impunity for perpetrators of honor killings, are expected to be presented to Parliament by mid-March.