Accounts of widows around Pakistan, be it urban or rural are nearly identical. For they all have a deep sense of looming guilt as if they are responsible for the death of their husband. Alone and helpless in a society that treats them as a subject of bad omen and burden, they are exposed to physical, social and economic discrimination. While they are treated as alien, their children are no different. According to research, 1.5 million children of widowed mothers die before reaching the age of 5. Such devastating accounts are of no surprise when out of 258 million widows, 38 million are reported to be poverty-stricken.
For decades the role of a proverbial widow in Pakistan is to be lonesome, repressed, and that of an outcast. Widows, more often than not have been ruled out of their husband’s property rights, some are even forced and coerced into giving up their rights by a relative, leaving them with little or nothing to fend for themselves or their children. Such desperate circumstances expose widows and their children to violence and exploitation.