Karo-kari is a cruel practice perpetrated especially in the province of Sind in
Pakistan. Here, I would like to summarize the practice.
Karo is a black man, and Kari a black woman, where “black” means morally
corrupt. It is a highly ritualized form of woman killing.
To declare a woman a Kari, there has to be a Karo, a black man, but the
statistical data shows that although both are declared black, in 90 percent of
the cases, it is the woman who is killed. The Karo either escapes or bargains
for his life by paying money. There are necessary rituals, which have to be
performed to validate this process. The accusation has to be made in advance
vociferously. The couple is declared Karo-Kari in the village. This job is
always done by the men of woman’s family, especially the husband. Her grave is
prepared in advance. There is no final bath or funeral prayer for her. No one is
allowed to cry over her dead body. The village gives respect to the murderer.
Separate graveyards for the Kari women have been established in the province of
Sind in Pakistan.
Lately, the patterns have changed in the custom of Karo-Kari. In many cases,
there is no advance accusation. Before, mostly the wives were declared Kari, and
now any woman of the family can be accused as a Kari immediately after her
murder. This custom, in fact, has become an excuse for the murder of helpless
women for reasons completely unconnected to the victims.
The following are few situations in which women have been denounced as Karis:
• When a husband killed a man of the enemy tribe for whatever reason, he would
come home and kill his wife and declare both the victims as Karo-Kari. This
declaration helped him escape a severe punishment and the village would regard
him with respect. In such cases sometimes, the woman had not even seen the man
with whom she was accused of misconduct.
• During a tribal/family feud, if the rival groups’ man was killed accidentally,
his body would be brought to the house immediately and any woman available on
the premises (wife, daughter, sister-in-law or mother) would be killed
immediately and it would be declared a Karo-Kari case.
•Material reasons: Husbands (now in many cases, uncles and brothers) would
declare woman Kari for “misbehaving” along with a rich man in the village. The
husband could then extract money to pardon the accused man and then get rid of
the wife/sister, etc. by killing her. The woman’s share of property then went to
him as well.
• In the villages where men pay bride price, the situation is worse for women.
Once sold to a man they cannot ask for divorce if he abuses them. She is the
man’s property. If she protests, she is not divorced or sent back to her parents
because the parents will have nothing to do with her after selling her off into
marriage. If she protests, she is killed in the name of Karo-Kari. Sometimes the
Karo is from another village and no one has ever seen him.
• In the rural areas of Pakistan, especially among the land-owning feudal class,
a daughter’s marriage is a well-calculated affair. To keep the property
together, marriages are arranged within the family on the basis of exchange (watta-satta).
In such cases, if the daughter or sister does not want to marry the person
chosen by the family men, she faces dire consequences. Her defiance results in
her death. Due to her refusal, she is labeled as disobedient. If she shows
interest in getting married to someone of her own choice, and against the wishes
of the family men, trouble begins. If she is determined to assert her right and
gets married through the civil court, she has to face death. The crime of the
girls in such cases is disobedience.
• In the areas where a bride price is set, young girls at the tender ages of 12
or 13 are sold to men of 60 or 70 years of age because the latter are willing to
pay high prices. If a young girl protests, or runs away to avoid the impending
marriage, she is murdered for being disobedient.
These are some of the flimsy excuses upon which women are butchered mercilessly,
and in many cases, their own mothers and sisters are involved in such brutality
Karo-kari is not synonymous with honor killing; it is simply classified under
the aegis of honor killing, but recently the term has become equivalent with the
whole concept of honor killing. There are many other acts of honor killing where
the woman does not have to be branded as a kari before she is murdered. Some of
these cases are included in the AI Report. But recently, all women who have
seized their courage and acted upon their basic human rights and have thus
“violated the honor of their families” have been branded as Karis, and their
relatives are in the process of hunting them down.
I hope to work with you all readers to stop this Karo-kari practice in Pakistan.
Destiny of a woman: Honor Killing
I am trying to put some light on Karo Kari ritual (Honor Killing) which is a
very serious and hot issue at the moment.
In fact, no one is raising their voices against it, just quietly watching
whatever is happening. There are so many religious leaders out there but how
many will try to raise their voice against this ritual?
TV channels and newspapers are only showing and talking about the incidents. Can
it be stopped just by presenting these incidents as news only? No! Absolutely
If 18 crore Pakistanis move forward together to stop this, there is no way this
cannot be stopped.
There is help available and there are laws. But in spite of all this, some
adamant and shameless people are still following this practice.
These incidents are increasing in Pakistan day by day. There is not a single day
when this is not happening in one of the parts of Pakistan.
Print media and electronic media are making the headlines of these incidents.
Pakistan is a Muslim country and this type of incidents and crime put a question
for 8 crore citizen of the country.
Do our religious leaders and Muslims have become so careless that they don’t
even want to take any step against this ritual?
We live in a Muslim country and there shouldn’t be any incidents like this but I
am so sorry to say that the women are still being killed in the name of honor.
It’s a shame for us.
No doubt adultery is a sin but does the brutal murder of a woman is the right
punishment for this sin?
Blaming innocent men or women is a sin too.
When someone does a crime, the criminal has to be punished by law only not that
the civilians will take the law in their hands to punish the criminal.
In our country, the Karo Kari ritual is getting stronger day by day and lots of
innocents are being punished.
If someone blames a Muslim woman with adultery, then one has to bring 4
witnesses to prove the adultery. If the person cannot bring the witness he
should be punished under the Islam law code 80. Even though this will be just
the worldly punishment, he will be finally punished at the hell as well.
How come people who give the punishment of Karo Kari forget that she also came
from a mother’s womb. She is the daughter of a mother too.
God has given the honor to a woman only that there is heaven under her feet. How
can we forget that?
Women have been given the equal rights in our religion and they shouldn’t be
ill-treated at all.
What kind of inheritance we are passing to our future generation? I hope, one
day, our future generation will realize this fact and fix it.
After so many sacrifices on the name of Islam, we earned this Pakistan. What
for? Just to kill our own daughters and daughter-in-laws at the name of Karo
Kari. Everything is happening in front of our eyes and we are just watching
quietly. We read/watch these news, feel sorry for a while and after few days we
forget and get busy with our daily life.
My question is for every citizen of Pakistan, killing a human at the name of
honor isn’t a crime?
Do the parents raise and educate their daughters so one day someone kills them
at the name of honor? Does Islam teach this?
Paying attention to this issue is the responsibility of every human being.
I appeal to the government of Pakistan that they should take strict actions
against this ritual and create new laws and pass new bills. Whoever is involve
in this Karo Kari punishment ritual should be punished strictly by law so the
future generations will not dare to do this.
To end this problem from its root, it is very important that in every village
and in every city there should be the committees governed by the learned people,
who have deep knowledge of Islam and who are fully aware of Karo Kari ritual. In
spite of this, if someone does this crime, he should be punished under the law.