Outlawed in Pakistan is a short film by filmmakers Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann. It was aired on May 28 on PBS Frontline and was also selected for screening in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
The film revolves around a girl Kainat Soomro who lived in a rural village of Sindh Province in Pakistan. Kainat was raped by four men when she was 13 years old while she wason her way home from school. The moving story re-tells Kainat and her family’s struggle for justice. After the girl was gang-raped her family was forced to kill her as she had become kari, a black virgin. In most of the villages in rural Sindh, this culture of killing women (who become impure) has been going on for generations now and due to rampant ignorance and poverty, it is highly unlikely that this practice would end in near future. Apparently, rape is an abomination, but only for the victim and not for the rapist.
But Kainat’s family became a unique example where her family members, especially the male family members refused to follow the traditional practices. Instead they asked for justice and that actually made things even worse for them.
Kainat’s attackers made it impossible for her family to live in the village and drove them out. They now live in Karachi where it is very difficult for the members to make both the ends meet.
Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann have indeed taken a bold step by telling Kainat’s story on an international platform but the truth is that there are thousands of unknown girls like Kainat who died after being wronged, abused and tortured.
Kainat Soomero’s attackers are unsurprisingly at large. It is not uncommon in Pakistan, especially in rural villages, for rapists, or any other criminals for that matter, to roam around freely while their victims suffer for the sins these ‘monsters’ commit.
The girl’s story may have been revealed to the world but in her own country she is an outlaw. Her family still faces death and is constantly in hiding, thanks to the judicial system of Pakistan. While the rapists are acquitted, Kainat and her family are struggling for justice and the court ruling which is against them.
Co-filmmaker of Outlawed in Pakistan Hilke Schellmann has also said that Kainat and her family are still appealing the verdict. And being a citizen of Pakistan, I can affirm that Kainat’s journey is not going to be an easy one.
You can watch the trailer for Outlawed in Pakistan, an H2H Films production, in the video below: