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Editorial | Murder Over Rejection Of Marriage Proposal: Toxic Masculinity Is Not ‘Passion’

The cold blooded murder of a young British-Pakistani woman in Lahore is a reminder of rising cases of violence against women in the country. 25-year-old Mahira Zulfiquar who had returned from the UK two months ago was allegedly killed for refusing marriage proposals of two men who happened to be her friends.

Her uncle filed the FIR, stating that she had visited him a few days before this and had told him that two of her friends were threatening and harassing her. The police have registered a case against four individuals, who include two of the slain woman’s friends. The two friends allegedly wished to marry Mari, but she had refused both their proposals.

Killing and throwing acid at women for refusing marriage proposals is often termed as a ‘crime of passion’, which unfortunately conceals the gruesomeness of the act. There is no ‘passion’ in killing. What this incident reminds is that the concept of consent is lost on men due to our society’s disregard for a woman’s choice. When a man refuses to take no for an answer and expresses his anger through violence, it is a classic case of toxic masculinity. The lack of respect for a woman’s choice is what causes such a reaction, yet little effort is done to educate men in this regard. The content of Pakistani dramas often perpetuates the notion that a woman rejecting the proposal is a justified reason to practice violence against her. It is about time such justification of violence and toxic masculinity is brought to an end.

Legislation alone cannot guarantee an end to these various forms of violence against women if the mindset responsible for such actions continues to grow. The need of the hour therefore is to educate men on the importance of consent through awareness campaigns and educational reforms.


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