Just a day after eight-year-old Fatima Noor was raped and burned to death — a 24-year-old singer was shot dead after taking her time to comply with a guest’s demand that she stand up while performing at a wedding party near Larkana. Samina Sindhu was six months pregnant. Whether the person who pulled the trigger knew this or not is irrelevant. A woman is dead because she did not immediately jump when a man told her to. We at Daily Times support her husband who wants to see the perpetrator and his two accomplices booked for double murder given that the couple’s unborn child was also killed.The incident raises many questions; some of them practical. Such as, the need to crack down on those carrying personal firearms. Strict stipulations should be put in place with a view to outlawing this extremely dangerous practice. There should be no room for ‘cultural’ norms. Also, it needs to be determined whether guests were served alcohol at the function. It has been reported that several partygoers were under the influence. Though intoxication can never be an excuse for such violence. These are matters for Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to answer at the earliest.Then there are more fundamental questions; the most pressing of all is that of class and subsequent power dynamics. Women from underprivileged backgrounds, especially those who perform, are viewed as public property; vulgar. While their privileged sisters are more likely to be hailed as modern or trailblazers when, of course, they are not being accused of embracing decadent western norms. Thus the bottom line remains: men act savagely towards women because they think they can get away with it. Each and every time. Pakistan has to get over itself in this regard. And this includes everybody who hires working-class women in whatever capacity. What happened at Larkana was extreme but this does not mean that the patterns of abuse are not repeated elsewhere; often behind closed doors. A pay cheque does not mean ownership. Using the labour of poor women to raise one’s family must not be mistaken for benevolence. Just as the ‘solution’ to preventing yet more Zainabs or Fatima Noors is not the legalising of brothels. And outspoken women like Qandeel Baloch, who dared cross the boundaries of her class, can never be blamed for what men do to them.It is time for this country’s ‘unfair’ sex to take responsibility for their murderous misogyny. To be sure, this ought to be a collective burden. For, what about the other wedding guests? Did not one man try and gently restrain those who were behaving aggressively towards Samina? Or did they not want to risk injury; with their subconscious murmuring from somewhere deep inside that she was only a woman. Disposable. The only way to effect necessary change is for Pakistan’s man-made laws to step up. Violence against women should incur the most serious of sentences. The unchecked and bloodthirsty misogyny must be tackled and defeated. *Published in Daily Times, April 12th 2018.