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Stop Honor Killing …. By Aqsa Naz

Aqsa Naz
Freelance Writer

Honor Killing In Pakistan
پاکستان میں غیرت و عزت  کے نام پر قتل
पाकिस्तान में ऑनर किलिंग

“To call it ‘Honor Killing’ is not honorable. It is inhumane and should be termed ‘Despotic Killing!

In the name of honor, a sixteen-year-old girl was killed by her family because she was raped by her brother. He assaulted her several times and then threatened to kill her if she told anyone. When she discovered that she was pregnant she had to tell her family. After the family arranged an abortion, they married her off to a man fifty years her senior. When he divorced her six months later, her family murdered her.

Police said 25-year-old Farzana Iqbal was stoned to death by her family for marrying the man she loved.

Unfolding the honour killing phenomenon in Pakistan

An honor killing occurs when a male relative decides to take the life of a female relative because, in his opinion, she has dishonored her family’s reputation by engaging in an “immoral” act. An immoral act could be that she was simply seen with a strange man or that she slept with a man. In many cases, women are killed just because of rumors or unfounded suspicions.

The uncle killed the 22-year-old girl in the name of honor. A man shot his sister-in-law in the name of honor, the husband also died in the firing while trying to save his wife. In the name of honor, the father killed two people including his daughter. The alleged acquaintance of the sister was shot and killed by the brother. Suspected of having an illicit relationship, the accused killed his 17-year-old sister by strangling her. Hardly a day goes by when such “honor killings” do not appear on television or in newspapers.

Such incidents are frequently reported in every city and village of Pakistan. In the tribal districts it is also seen that a man and a woman are killed on the sight of a man and a woman standing together or talking or even just based on imaginary suspicion, but the question is whether there is any justification for this.

The problems faced by women in Pakistan are discussed, the government also makes laws, but then they are not implemented, due to which the problems are arising.

Despite the existence of specific laws against honor killings in Pakistan, incidents of “kala kali” in Punjab, “karukari” in Sindh, “tor tora” in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and “sayakari” in Balochistan are common.

The Human Rights Commission and organizations working for women’s rights have expressed deep concern and demanded the government to take concrete measures to prevent these incidents.

In addition to domestic violence and honor killings, there has been an alarming increase in cases of harassment of women in various ways, due to which women are also suffering from mental problems and suicide cases are also increasing. It has been seen.

According to the data provided by some non-governmental organizations, nearly 1,000 women are killed in the name of honor in Pakistan every year. A young girl or a married woman is put to death for running away from home with her acquaintances, marrying without the family’s consent or having an illicit affair with someone.

But when the cases against the killer brothers, sons, parents, or other close relatives of these women are filed in the courts, usually their close relatives and the plaintiffs forgive them and thus they escape the punishment.

Unfolding the honour killing phenomenon in Pakistan

A shocking revelation has come out in a report that suicides and honor killings are happening especially among women in Swat and Chitral regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but during the police investigation it was found that the alleged suicides most of the women were killed which is a cause for concern. Women are subjected to violence and when women die in violence, then it is given the color of suicide.

Peshawar High Court lawyer and social activist Mehwish Mohib Kaka Khel said that “In 2021, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly passed the Domestic Violence Bill, but it is like having a body but not a soul, because the soul of this act is District There are protection committees, but these committees have not been notified yet, due to which women are facing many difficulties.

“A woman is assaulted and wants to go to the police station to lodge an FIR, but the police do not lodge an FIR, at most the police lodge a diary and after a day or two the person gets bail. And then the problem gets worse, because when the torturer returns home from jail, he starts torturing the woman even more and thus it escalates to murder, the only solution is the Protection Committees.”

Social activist Saima Munir said that “Laws are made but they are not implemented. Parliamentarians approve bills from the assembly and forget to implement them. Not a single case is registered in the police station under the domestic violence bill.” It happened because the women do not know about this law and the police do not know what this law is.”

Mehwish Muhib Kaka Khel Advocate also agrees with Saima Munir, she said that “laws are made but no one knows about the legislation, the domestic violence bill has been passed by the assembly, but the police do not know about it.” I have no information. Now the police are being trained that if a woman is a victim of violence, the accused can be charged under this act.”

According to Mehwish, “Preventing violence is difficult until people and law enforcement agencies are aware of it. The problem here is that when a woman is abused, she does not report it in the first place. And if a woman wants to file a report, then the police does not take her report, until there is complete awareness in the society, this problem will continue.”

In 2004, the government, through an Act of Parliament, made honor killing a premeditated murder and made it punishable by death or life imprisonment. Earlier, such incidents were considered common murders. However, this law remained ineffective in practice. Since the murderer in such cases was usually a close relative, the heirs of the deceased would pardon him under the law of deity, and thus the murderers seemed to have an open immunity.

After the killing of Qandeel Baloch in 2016, the law was further amended to include honor killings as crimes against humanity. After this amendment, the police have now started registering such cases under Sections 302 and 311 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

280 cases of honor killings were reported in the nine months from October 2016 to June 2017 after the law was passed. But according to the report of Aurat Foundation, in 2017 only 7 people were punished.

On the other hand, cases of honor killing or violence against women are increasing in Pakistani families who have settled in countries like America and Europe. According to a report, seventy percent of forced marriages in Britain take place in families from Pakistan.

An Italian court has sentenced a Pakistani couple to life imprisonment for the murder of their 18-year-old daughter Saman Abbas. The reason for this murder has been said to be the daughter’s refusal to arrange marriage.

Saman Abbas’ body was found in a farmhouse in northern Italy in November 2022, 18 months after his disappearance. His father Shabbar Abbas was arrested by Pakistani authorities in August and handed over to Italy. Saman’s mother Nazia Shaheen has been sentenced in her absence. She is believed to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan.

In late April 2021, Italy was shaken by the murder of Saman Abbas by his parents. After his disappearance, the Muslim community in Italy issued a fatwa against forced marriages.

Honour Killings in Pakistan: A Deep Dive into a Tragic Tradition

According to Italian authorities, the teenage girl had migrated from Pakistan with her family in 2016. Saman started dating a young man of Pakistani origin which reportedly angered their parents. Italian investigators said that Saman Abbas’ parents wanted him to go to Pakistan for the arranged marriage in 2020, but they refused.

Sana Cheema, a 26-year-old Italian woman of Pakistani origin, was strangled to death in Mungowal village of Gujarat on April 18, 2018, after which the international media also gave prominent place to this case. After the FIR was registered, it was found from the exhumation and forensic report that the victim was strangled to death and Sana Cheema’s father Ghulam Mustafa Cheema, uncle Mazhar Cheema and brother Adnan Cheema were acquitted by the court. The court gave benefit of doubt and ordered acquittal in the light of statements of police witnesses.

During the hearing in the Additional Sessions Court, Additional Sessions Judge Ameer Mukhtar Gondal pronounced the verdict of the famous case and ordered the acquittal of all named accused after 11 months.

In May 2022, two sisters of Spanish citizenship were murdered in Gujarat. A year and a half ago, these two sisters were married to their cousins. When they returned, they refused to sponsor their husbands for visas to Spain.

The girls’ brother and father took the mother into confidence. She brought her two daughters to Pakistan to participate in a function, saying they were ten days old. After that he was killed.

Before the murder, the Spanish girls gave the reason for their refusal and said, “After spending all their lives in Europe, they cannot adapt to the Pakistani husband and his ways, and their cousins ​​have different temperaments.” This statement of girls is a statement of ground facts, which parents especially father and brother do not understand. There is a huge difference between the culture, lifestyle and lifestyle of Pakistan and Europe. A person’s mood, likes and dislikes are subject to his environment and training.

In June 2022, an Australian woman of Pakistani origin was killed by her father-in-law with an ax in Sargodha district of Punjab. The 32-year-old deceased was a civil engineer who wanted to take her children back to Australia for better education, but her mother-in-law and father-in-law were against her return to Australia.

The case of Sajjada’s murder was registered in the complaint filed by her father, Sher Muhammad Khan, in which he said that his daughter’s father-in-law, Mukhtar Ahmed, killed her with an ax before his eyes and escaped.

Sajida Tasneem studied Civil Engineering in the year 2010 from Engineering University of Karachi. In the year 2011, she got married to Ayub Ahmed from Sargodha who was an engineer.

State becoming complainant in honour killings makes no difference - Pakistan - DAWN.COM

Human rights groups say the most common reasons for ‘honour killings’ are when the victim refuses to enter into an arranged marriage or has been sexually assaulted or raped.

But murders can also be committed for more mundane reasons, such as wearing clothing deemed inappropriate or displaying behavior seen as disobedient.

An 18-year-old woman was shot dead by her father and uncle on the orders of tribal elders in Pakistan’s Kohistan district. The reason for the murder was a photograph in which she was seen with a man. It was later found that the photo that went viral was distorted.

In 2019, 2020 and 2021, a total of more than 11,000 cases of rape and gang rape were registered. During this period, there were about 4,000 cases of murder of women and more than 1,000 cases of honor killing.

According to the data released by the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan, dozens of honor killings have occurred in different cities of Pakistan from 2016 to 2022.

According to HRCP, there were 520 honor killings across the country in the year 2022. Among those killed are 197 men and 323 women.

In the year 2023 till June, there have been 215 honor killings, including 70 men and 145 women.

According to the media monitor of the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan, incidents of honor killings are being reported frequently in the areas of Faisalabad, Lahore, Sheikhupura and Kasur.

In increasing cases of honor killings of women, women’s close male relatives such as husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, cousins ​​or uncles and aunts are usually involved.

Members of civil society hold placards during a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan against a recent "honor" killing on May 29, 2014.

These women can be ‘honor’ killed by their male relatives for offenses ranging from marrying without family consent to using mobile phones and posting a picture on social media.

According to Irfan Hussain Babak, director of a private NGO in Swat and working for women’s rights, 31 women were killed in the name of honor in Swat in 2023, while 16 women were killed in the name of honor in 2022.

Irfan Hussain said that “Police often close the investigation by declaring the murder of women as suicide, or in most cases they do not add article 311 of honor, because if article of honor is included in the case, then it I cannot consent, and the case becomes the responsibility of the state. So, they hesitate to put the said clause in it, which benefits the accused.”

He added that “more women are killed in the name of honor by relatives and then consent to family pressure, due to which the honor killing of women is increasing day by day. ”

According to Amnesty International, “most honor killings are women and girls”. But it is also a fact that men are also killed in these incidents, though their number is small. Often the problem is solved through jirga and personal reconciliation, in which others and women are the victims.

Honor killings have become very common in Pakistan especially in Sindh and in tribal areas of Pakistan. In Pakistan hundreds of women are killed every year in the name of honor. Such a cruel custom has existed in our country from so many years. Honor killings are common in all over the country, though in some areas the incidents of honor killings have taken a shockingly high amount of incidents in recent years. In Azad Kashmir a mother helped her husband in killing their 15 year old daughter because they saw her talking to a young man. They killed her by dousing her acid. Her elder sister was not in favor of this custom and she was very anxious about that crime which her parents had committed. She demanded justice and police investigation for her sister but all went in vain because it was done in the name of so called ‘honor’. Our state also goes after the satisfaction of honor in foreign policy. Our society has become so cruel under the involuntarily accepted conduct guideline of the Taliban. The people who are killed in the name of honor are mostly women. Rising honor is an illustrative feature in our judicial system; it is giving concession to the violence in our society. The education system of Pakistan has fallen down. The rising madrassas have strengthened the fire of honor rather than putting it out from our educational system.

A protest in the southern Pakistani seaport city of Karachi condemns violence against women. (file photo)A protest in the southern Pakistani seaport city of Karachi condemns violence against women. (file photo)

The three territories of Pakistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Swat and Azad Kashmir, were most excellently running their primary education system but it was destroyed by the earthquake of 2005. Taliban’s are also destroying the educational system of these territories. The parliamentarians of our country are also in favor of honor killing.

• In Pakistan the honor of a man rely on the behavior of her woman Women are always expected to behave modestly.
• Killing of the disobedient women is seen as a refinement of the family.
• Women are always expected to behave decently in our society because if they do any damaging act it will bring shame and dishonor to the male members of their family. Pakistan, women are scared to speak too loudly. These women live in fear each day of their lives because if they make one small mistake it
could mean their life. Yet, there are some people who are fighting for women’s rights, especially women’s education. They talk about honor killing in social television and support women in our community.

Deaths Of Women Put Spotlight On ‘Honor’ Killings In Pakistan

A spate of deaths of women in northwestern Pakistan has put the spotlight on so-called honor killings in the South Asian country. Each year, hundreds of women and girls are killed in Pakistan, often by relatives who say they are protecting the family’s honor. Despite stricter laws and public outrage in the Muslim-majority country, human rights groups say such killings continue. In the latest case, police said they have charged a man for murdering his 18-year-old daughter on the orders of a jirga, or tribal council, because she had appeared in a photo with unrelated men on social media.

Police said three others — the victim’s uncle and two cousins — were arrested on November 29 in Kolai-Palas, a remote district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The victim has been identified as Reema Bibi, whom police say was shot dead by her father in the family home on November 24, soon after photos of her with a woman and two men appeared on social media.

Pakistani women protest against violence against women. (file photo)Pakistani women protest against violence against women. (file photo)

Public images of women are considered taboo in deeply conservative rural areas of Pakistan. Police have said the photos of Bibi were manipulated.

Noor Mohammad, a police official in Kolai-Palas, told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal that the other woman and one of the two men in the photos were under police protection. The whereabouts of the other man in the images was unknown.

In another case, police said four people were killed on November 28 in the district of Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Police said a man killed his wife following a marital dispute. In retaliation, the victim’s brother killed the husband’s parents and young sister on the same day, police said.

“This is very cruel and is done in the name of terrible local customs,” Mufti Hafizullah Sabri, a local religious leader, told Radio Mashaal. “This is the result of deep-seated ignorance.”

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have discovered that the five Kohistan girls seen cheering on male dancers in a 2011 video were killed. ─ File photo

Pakistani authorities have arrested four people who allegedly killed an 18-year-old woman in the purported name of honor after a picture of her sitting with a boyfriend went viral on social media, police said Thursday. Police said the photo had been doctored and posted on fake social media accounts, the BBC reported. The woman’s father and three other men were detained days after the slaying in Kohistan, a district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan. Police said they were told about the killing on Nov. 24 and officers were still investigating.According to the local police chief, Masood Khan, the four arrested men apparently killed the woman on orders from village elders, who thought she had brought shame to her family by posing for pictures with a boy. Khan said the investigation determined that the photo of the couple that went viral had been edited by someone before it was shared on social media. He said investigators are trying to trace whoever edited and posted the image since it led to her killing.It was not immediately clear if the photo manipulation falsely made it look like the 18-year-old had sat with her boyfriend.Protest against killing of Farzana Parveen, 2014

Recently, a 21-year old woman in Punjab was found raped and strangled to death by the man she had trusted to save her from an “honor” killing by her family. In early June, Saba Maqsood miraculously survived being shot by her relatives and dumped into a canal  in Hafizabad town in Pakistan’s Punjab province for trying to marry the man of her choosing against family wishes.

A week earlier in Lahore, Farzana Iqbal was brutally beaten to death with bricks by up to two dozen relatives, including her father, for marrying the man she loved. Sadly, hundreds of women and girls are subject to “honor” killings in Pakistan every year.

For many communities in Pakistan, women and girls are seen to embody family honor. A woman’s identity and her family’s sense of social respect and worth is measured by her acquiescence to family demands, such as marrying the man they choose for her.

What made Iqbal’s death unique was the fact that the perpetrators chose to kill her so brazenly, outside one of the most respected state institutions: the Lahore High Court, in the second largest city in Pakistan and arguably its cultural capital. By all accounts, instead of protecting Iqbal and saving her life, the police stood by and watched the crime unfold.

Most cases like this, however, receive scant attention by the public and the police, as they often happen in small villages or behind closed doors. In February, for example, Ayat Bibi was bludgeoned to death in a north Balochistan village on the orders of a local cleric after being accused by a male relative of having relations with a man named Daraz Khan, who was also killed. Ayat and Daraz’s final resting places are both unmarked graves. Those responsible for the killings have not been brought to justice.

Farzana Iqbal’s killing, and the publicity that followed, shamed Pakistan’s prime minister and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court into demanding investigations into the incident. Most of the key culprits were soon in jail, and the murder trial is expected to begin shortly. Some politicians and religious leaders have condemned the killing, a welcome move in a country where all too often violence against women is ignored or even justified based on religious or cultural values.

But what would have been the response if this crime had not been perpetrated in such a public and symbolic space and drawn global attention? As the spotlight fades away from this case, and Iqbal’s battered body settles in the ground like hundreds of others, are the authorities likely to lose interest in ensuring her killers are brought to justice and that the police are held to account for their failure to protect her?

Seeking justice is extremely problematic in Pakistan, as a wide legal loophole currently exists that allows perpetrators of “honor” killings to escape any punishment. Under Pakistani law in cases of murder, the victim’s family is allowed to pardon the perpetrators. The culprits are then free from prosecution and sentencing.

So-called honor killings are ubiquitous in several parts of South Asiaopens in a new tab and other corners of the world. It is difficult to determine exactly how many women fall victim to killings justified as the defense of family “honor,” but the number runs into the thousands worldwide.

Pakistan Is One Step Closer To Passing An Anti-Honor Killing Law

Often, the most severe punishments for transgressions of “honor” or for bringing “shame” on a family are decreed by councils of tribal elders – in which women have no place. In Pakistan, the statistics vary from around 900 to just over 1,000 each year. But these figures represent only instances documented by human rights groups based on reports from the media or law enforcement authorities.Addressing these issues, whether in Pakistan, or anywhere else in the world, is challenging because the causes are complex. But like so many other social problems, positive change must start at home. Too often, the home is where the use of violence becomes normalized. It is where the citizen gets conditioned to believe that violence is an acceptable, particularly to excuse violence that is carried out to protect perceived social standing, national honor, or religious sentiments.

Honor crimes fester in the dark privacy of the home. It is time to expose these abuses to the light of public scrutiny and the law. A number of states have outlawed honor killings and other forms of gender-based violence. But those laws require effective implementation, police and other law enforcement professionals must be trained on gender-based violence. And victims must be confident in the ability of the police and other authorities to assist them.

The education system is also a key battleground, because it is one of the rare public spaces where young minds can be empowered to challenge gender stereotypes and made aware that violence in the home is unacceptable. Public figures, and especially men, must openly speak out: not only to condemn honor killings, but to acknowledge that these abuses are not random or sporadic incidents but a much wider problem.

Empirical research in this area is limited, but there is ample anecdotal evidence that public exposure is the most effective way to address the issue, because it forces society to confront the reality that there is no honor in killing women and girls for choosing to live life on their own terms.

FILE - In this March 8, 2020 file photo Activists of the Pakistani religious party Minhaj-ul-Quran observe International Women's Day at a rally in Islamabad, Pakistan. An annual human rights report released this week gives Pakistan a failing grade, charging that too little is being done to protect the country's most vulnerable, including women and children. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash, File)

‘Harrowing Reminder’

Human rights group say the incidents are just the latest cases of honor killings in Pakistan, where women have been slain for eloping with men, committing adultery, or even appearing in online videos and photographs.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) documented at least 384 cases of such killings in 2022 alone, including 103 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The cases are a “harrowing reminder that violence against women remains deeply accepted in Pakistan,” Asad Iqbal Butt, the head of the HRCP, said in a November 29 statement.

A 2016 amendment to the criminal law in Pakistan defined “murder committed in the name of honor” as a specific crime with stiffer penalties than homicide, including the death penalty or life in imprisonment.

But rights groups say the stricter laws have failed to curb the number of killings.

“While repeated so-called ‘honor killings’ have resulted in legislative amendments and societal outrage in the country, they remain unabated,” Nadia Rahman of Amnesty International said in a November 30 statement. “It is not enough to arrest people after such attacks take place. The authorities must end impunity for violence and abolish so-called village and tribal councils that prescribe such horrific crimes.”

In 2019, Pakistan’s Supreme Court declared tribal councils illegal because they violated the constitution and Islamabad’s international commitments to protect human rights and end gender discrimination.

But Rahman said the Pakistani authorities have failed to “curb the extra-legal power of jirgas or tribal councils to run parallel legal systems,” in a move she said has perpetuated “patriarchal violence with impunity.”

‘Blood’ Money

Kainat Kakakhel, a Pakistani lawyer, said the amended law aimed at curbing honor killings is not being fully enforced.

Under the law, a person convicted of “murder committed in the name of honor” cannot be pardoned by the victim’s family, which is permitted under Islamic law.

“[But] often, the police reports in honor killing cases are registered as murder cases, which opens the door to reconciliation, which is a major flaw,” Kakakhel told Radio Mashaal.

Under Pakistani law, the Islamic concept of diyat, which allows a victim’s family to forgive a murderer in exchange for financial compensation, or so-called blood money, from the perpetrator’s family.

High-Profile Cases

In one of the most high-profile cases in Pakistan in recent years, a tribal council in Kolai-Palas in 2011 ordered the deaths of four men and two women after a homemade video appeared to show unrelated men and women fraternizing at a wedding.

In 2013, three of the men — all brothers — were killed by the family members of the two women, according to the police. A fourth brother, Afzal Kohistani, was killed in 2019 after leading a yearslong campaign against honor killings in Pakistan.

In 2017, a provincial court had overturned the murder convictions against the six men from the women’s families.

Qandeel Baloch is one of the most well-known victims of honor killings in Pakistan. (file photo)Qandeel Baloch is one of the most well-known victims of honor killings in Pakistan. (file photo)

In another prominent case, a man was convicted of murdering his celebrity sister in 2016.

Muhammad Waseem was found guilty of strangling to death Qandeel Baloch, a controversial social media star who was dubbed the Kim Kardashian of Pakistan.

Waseem had publicly said he had no remorse for killing his 26-year-old sister over her “intolerable” behavior, after she posted racy pictures of herself with a Muslim cleric.

Waseem, 38, was sentenced to life in prison. But in February 2022 — after spending six years in prison — he was freed after his mother pardoned him.

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