In Pakistan, with 21 percent of girls marrying before the age of 18. In January 2016, a proposal submitted to parliament by WHOM aimed to raise the legal minimum age to 18 for females and introduce harsher penalties for those who arrange child marriage. However, on January 14, 2016, the proposal was withdrawn following strong pressure from the Council of Islamic Ideology, a body that advises the parliament on Islamic law. The council criticized the proposal as “anti-Islamic” and “blasphemous.”
Violence against women and girls—including rape, murder through so-called honor killings, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage—remained routine. Pakistani human rights NGOs estimate that there are about 1,000 “honor killings” every year.
At this point, Offred's narrative ends. The book closes with the transcription of a Symposium on Gileadean Studies written sometime in the distant future. The Chairperson introduces the keynote speaker, who will deliver an address on "Problems of Authentication in The Handmaid's Tale ." Professor Pieixoto speaks about how he and a colleague discovered thirty cassette tapes that contained recordings made by one woman. They transcribed them and worked out the probable order, and the result has been named The Handmaid's Tale . He speaks about the possibility that the tapes are fake, but concludes that they are probably real recordings made by a real Handmaid, though they should be careful not to cast a moral judgment on such a different time and place. Finally, he talks about how they worked to authenticate whatever details they could, relying mostly on evidence about the identity of Offred's Commander. They ultimately conclude that Offred's narrative is interesting, but not terribly useful as a historical document.