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New Film Investigates Rape, Politics in Pakistan

Shahbaz Khan/Sundance(NEW YORK) -- A 13-year-old gets raped by four men and her country wants her to die: That’s the saga of Kainat Soomro, who’s been fighting for justice in Pakistan for four years.

After Soomro’s rape, a Pakistani tribunal ordered her parents to carry out an honor killing, saying being raped brings shame to the family. Her parents refused — they hired an attorney, made court appeals, and appeared on TV in an effort to bring her alleged rapists to light.

They’ve suffered in the process: The family had to move, Soomro’s father and brother were beaten by the alleged rapists, and her older brother, Sabir, went missing for three months and was later found murdered.

Soomro’s struggle inspired a documentary, Outlawed in Pakistan, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month and will air on PBS’ Frontline this spring.

The film comes at a time when the welfare of women in India and Pakistan is making headlines around the world. The December gang rape and death of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey set off public protests in Delhi and prompted four Indian states to enact measures to better ensure women’s safety. The case of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who the Taliban shot in the head last year because she stood up for girls’ education, launched a UN petition to outlaw discrimination against girls.

For the filmmakers behind Outlawed in Pakistan, Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann, the fact that these cases are sparking protests is a sign that change is happening.

ABC News sat down with Nosheen and Schellmann in Park City, Utah, to find out about the making of their documentary and talk about what needs to happen for cases like Soomro’s to stop.

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