181222 dowry pakistan
Actors Ali Rehman Khan (left) and Ayesha Omar with the words ‘jahez khori bandh karo’ (stop asking for dowry) written on their hands. Image Credit: Instagram

What you need to know

  • #Stopjahezkhori is a trend initiated by UN Women Pakistan against the concept of dowry.
  • Pakistani celebrities are joining in on social media. 
  • Social media users in the country share images with the words “jahez khori bandh karo” (stop asking for dowry).

Dubai: Pakistani celebrities are taking a stand against the culture of dowry in the country by joining in on a trend created by the United Nations (UN) Women Pakistan.

According to a report by The Express Tribune, a Pakistan based newspaper, 2,000 cases of dowry-related deaths are reported in the country every year.

The concept of dowry, the money or goods that a woman brings to her husband in marriage, is still prevalent in Pakistan. It is often conceived as demands, which a bride’s parents hand over to the groom and his family during the wedding. These could include things like household electronic items, vehicles and even property.

With winter comes wedding season in Pakistan and so #Stopjahezkhori was initiated as a trend, along with the term ‘jahez khori’ for those asking for dowry, by the UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women in Pakistan.

Prominent actors from the country joined in on social media to express their disapproval over the process of the groom’s family keeping certain demands before a wedding. They shared images of themselves, holding up a hand, with the words “jahez khori bandh karo” (stop asking for dowry) written on it.

The images were immediately shared on various social platforms, with people adding in by sharing their own images, too.

Actor Ali Rehman Khan, @alirehmankhan, wrote on Instagram: “Are you marrying a girl or her money? Real men don’t take jahez (dowry)! Jab rishwat lene walay ko RISHWATKHOR kehte hain, to jahez lene walay ko JAHEZKHOR kyun nahi (when you call a person taking a bribe corrupt, then why not those who take dowry, too)? Jahez is embedded in our society in all classes, we need to stop malpractice. I stand against dowry! Jahezkhori band karo! #StopJahezkhori #UNWomenPakistan”

Actress Ayesha Omar, @ayesha.m.omar, posted on Instagram: “This wedding season, take a stand for something.”

Pakistani actor Adnan Siddiqui, @adnansid1, wrote on Instagram: “Dowry is denied vehemently but it’s a practice that is still prevalent in today’s society. It’s like a continuous fire that has engulfed the lives of so many women and families across the globe and continues to do so. Women are making waves in every field then why are they still crushed to this day in the name of dowry? It’s important to educate today’s youth and curb this practice. Let’s fight for this cause and take a pledge that we will say no to dowry. #stopjahezkhori”

According to a report in Dawn, a Pakistan-based newspaper, the Dowry and Bridal Gifts (Restriction) Act 1976 has rarely been implemented in the country. The law originally placed restriction on the value of dowry and bridal act at 5,000 rupees. However an amendment was submitted by members of the National Assembly of Pakistan in 2016, which increased the ceiling to “50,000 rupees if the marriage ceremony is held in urban areas and 20,000 rupees if such ceremony is held in rural areas”.

Additionally, the amendment also stated that, “no bridegroom or any person on his behalf shall demand dowry, gift or give any indication of such demand in any manner whatsoever”. Those demanding dowry would also be punishable by law, with an imprisonment sentence of not less than six months and a fine of not less than 10,000 rupees.