The world is celebrating International Girl Child Day today — on October 11, 2018. Hardly 1% of Pakistanis have knowledge about this international observance, despite the fact that half of Pakistan’s population are women. The cases of gender-based violence are routine news and tickers on every channel. As much as 60% of women are illiterate and more than 15 million girls are out of schools. The issues of gender-based violence, honour killing, early marriages and forced marriages especially Suwara or Vani and girl child abuse have become common in our society.Launched by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, The International Day of Girl Child is celebrated all over the world on October 11 since then. This day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls’ face while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights. Discrimination and violence against girls and violations of their human rights still happen all over the world. Amongst the issues focused on by the International Day of the Girl Child are education, equality, child marriage, access to services regarding puberty and sexual health and addressing issues around gender-based violence. On this day, we need to remind ourselves that thousands of girls child work as maids in our homes and they don’t enjoy basic rights such as education and health rather they work in childhood on a minute amount of wages. Such girls need education just as our girl children and care from those who are concerned about their country and society in general. Every year, thousands of girl child are married. The issue of early marriages is very concerning where not only the State but parents and communities need to focus. A girl child loses all her potential and opportunities of life when she is married without completing her schooling at the age of 16 or even earlier.Parents treat their children as property of the family rather than a living person. Due to a rise in the trend of court marriages, incidents of honour killing have also been increasingDue to social norms that devalue women as individuals in our society, honour violence is rampant against women and girls. Immediate family members who are supposed to protect a girl usually commit honour killing. The murder of girls and women by their own mothers, fathers, and brothers mostly because of land disputes or love marriage of a girl. In some cases, Honour killings are ordered by community leaders or tribal councils like Jirga or Punchait. According to a research study, 93% of honour-based violence victims are women, and the average age of victims is around 23. The murders also manage safe escape due to weaknesses in the legal system. The 2004 law against ‘honour killing’ is contradicted directly by the Islamic law of Qisas and Diyat, which allows a family of a victim to ‘forgive’ the criminal and lessen the punishment or forgo it altogether. Most criminals use this loophole to get away with their crime. Parents treat their child as a property of their family rather than a living person. Due to rise in court marriage trends the incidents of honour killing are also increasing so its utmost important that life and liberty of the court marriage couple should be protected by state and more importantly — every citizen should have right to make his/her own choice. Islam allows every Muslim for the marriage of his/her choice regardless of gender.Education institutions can play important role in creating awareness regarding the International Day of Girl Child. A brief 30 minutes session regarding this day and the importance of Girls rights may shape our young minds in a constructive and positive manner. On this day, we need to tell each this beautiful hadith of Prophet (P.B.U.H) “Whoever has three daughters and is patient towards them, and feeds them, gives them to drink, and clothes them from his wealth; they will be a shield for him from the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.” The writer is a media and communications professional. He can be contacted at email@example.com or Twitter: zia051Published in Daily Times, October 11th 2018.