Dr. Nafisa Shah

SWGI hosted Dr. Nafisa Shah to discuss her new book. Based on Shah's unique insights over many years of experience as a journalist, researcher, and administrator, this fascinating study shows how the state justice system and informal processes of redress are mutually implicated in providing a space for honour-related violence, in the Sindh province, known as karo-kari. Dr. Shah persuasively argues, however, that the label, karo-kari, masks diverse underlining factors such as contest over leadership, resources, marital strategies, and uses the language of honour as a means of legitimating and appropriating power. 

The book is an insightful, scholarly, lucid, and coherently argued treatise on the topic of honour killings. It contains fascinating and richly detailed ethnography and engages on issues of concern across the anthropology of gender, politics, and law. This landmark study offers a new perspective for understanding and dealing with honour-related violence demonstrating that honour does not lead to violence but that such violence is strategy ‘masked in honour’. 

Dr. Nafisa Shah is an academic, writer, artist, and accidental politician. Shah has a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford. She is presently serving her second term as Member of the National Assembly from the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian platform. As an MNA, she is a strong voice on rights-based policy and has led cross-party caucusing on gender. She was elected Nazim (mayor) of Khairpur district in 2001, being one of the only two women District Nazims in Pakistan. Shah also worked previously as a journalist in the English language magazine Newsline