“Outlawed in Pakistan” tells the story of Kainat Soomro as she takes her rape case to Pakistan’s deeply flawed court system in hopes of getting justice. The 13-year-old Kainat accuses four men of gang rape and shortly after is ordered to be killed by her village elders. Spanning five years, the story is told through the perspective of Kainat and the four men accused of her rape.

Kainat’s decision to report the gang rape led her tribal elders to outlaw her and order her death because, in their view, her rape has brought shame to the village.Through the perspective of the accused rapists, we learn that women like Kainat who admit to being raped are declared “dishonorable” and are shunned by Pakistani society.

The United Nations estimates that as many as 5,000 people may be the victims of honor killings each year. But experts argue that the actual rate of incidents is exponentially higher, and Pakistan remains the country with the highest number of honor killings in the world.

The film shows the extraordinary strength that women like Kainat possess, even in the face of extraordinary obstacles, as they resist societal norms and turn their backs on the tribal traditions to demand justice from a legal system that continues to fail them.

The film is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013 and will have its television broadcast on PBS Frontline in Spring 2013.

Project description updated 12/06/12

Habiba Nosheen's picture
Grantee
Habiba Nosheen is a Peabody Award-winning Pakistani journalist and a filmmaker based in New York. She is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she teaches...
Hilke Schellmann's picture
Grantee
Hilke Schellmann is an award-winning investigative documentary filmmaker and cinematographer. She has worked as a Coordinating Producer for National Geographic Television and on documentaries for the...