Honors killings in Pakistan

(Mohammad waqar Arif, Islamabad)

ALLAH says in QURAN “... Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind...” (Quran: 5.32). There are many verses in Quran which stress us to treat esteem with women. The charter of any religion is not in the favor of honor killing. According to the report of United Nation, five thousand women every year becomes victim of honor killing. The report reveals that one thousand cases occur in India and five hundred in Pakistan every year. Pakistan where 95 % people belong to from Islam and India where 80 % belong to from Hindu religion depicts that there is no link between religion and heinous crime honor killing. Thousands of women in Pakistan are murdered by their relatives in 2015 only on the pretext of defending family honor. However Islam and other religions strictly forbid the aggressive behavior upon women.

Honor killing termed with different name in different province of Pakistan, it is known as kala kali in Punjab, karo kari in sindh , Tora Tora in NWFP and sayah Kari in Baluchistan. Honor killing is basically a crime, and until we don’t able to set some parameter to punish any crime, we can’t get significant consequences. Because when someone commit any crime then he or she must deserve the punishment for the prevention of generating more crimes in society, The story behind the scene relate to from honor killing mostly based on illegal physical relation with other or the person don’t obey their family leader on the matter of enforced marriage. Every person has a right to choose their life partner to their own will without any distinction in male and female. Islam also allows marrying with their own wishes regarding some rules mentioned in Holy Book. Unfortunately there are many cracks in our law to handle this matter, as many people are benefiting to involving them in other criminal activities through these loophole. Bases of heinous crime rely upon uneducated society, followers of outdated tradition, revenge of elders, vested interest and many others. Some time both male and female killed by both household mutual understanding and some time only girl becomes victim. Killer take the law in own hand and prefer to by their own family court being headed by their elders. In Pakistan many of them were killed by husband, brother or father. The murder of Qandeel baloch by his own brother, A 19-year-old school teacher from Murree, who was tortured and set on fire after refusing a marriage proposal , are the recent example of honor killing. Many other crimes have been generated under the name of honor killing. Some time personal revenge between two families and some time they personally motivate girls to commit the crime, then they demand for huge money or threat them to kill in the name of honor.

Law and order play very vital role to increase or decrease the ratio of any crime, Many of the people don’t approach to the police station due to their resources and bundle of money to follow the long term and delayed justice system in Pakistan. Some of them have resources but their tribal leader threat to their life. I personally know one man, who belongs to from Gohtki, Sindh. His household was considered very rich among all other family. The girl were motivated to loud the voice against boy for alleging fornication. After alleging girl, some elders from girl side demand of huge money to pardon him for mock rape case and threaten to not approaching to police. The tribal leader compelled the boy to pay otherwise he will be killed on the base of so called honor killing. The boy approached the police but eventually killed on the pretext of honor, such incidents have shaken the whole society and they reveal that we are moving towards social and societal degradation.

Honour killings are supposed to be as ordinary murder, but in practice, police and prosecutors often ignore it. Government should implement proper legislation in order to curb such crimes, and declare it as heinous acts followed by severe punishment, such as burning or killing of woman as an unpardonable crime as it is the responsibility of government to protect every human in the country. Pakistan Ulema Council had also declared murder of women or girls in the name of ‘honor’ as un-Islamic.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2004, which came into force in 2005, added a specific offence of “honour crime” committed “on the pretext of karo kari, siyah kari or similar other customs or practices” in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 1860. Pakistan amended its criminal code in 2005 to prevent men who kill female relatives escaping punishment by pardoning themselves as an “heir” of the victim.

Many times bill presented in senate and assembly but could not pass due to political consensus. As in February 2014 the upper house of Pakistani Parliament passed the Anti-Honor Killing Laws Amendment) Bill 2014 tabled in the senate by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Sughra Imam. Pakistan's lower and upper houses approved the anti-honor killing bill on July 21, 2016.First introduced and passed in the Senate in March 2015, the bill had failed to enjoy political consensus and wasn't approved by the National Assembly, a necessary step for it to become law. But the joint sitting was delayed amid political bickering between the government and opposition. Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said “under the new law relatives of the victim would only be able to pardon the killer of capital punishment, but they would still face a mandatory life sentence of twelve-and-a-half years.”

Media should also play their role to air the voice against honor killing Recently one documentary film named as "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” produced by Sharmeen Obiad Chinnoy won the Academy Award for best documentary short in February based on anti Honor killing. The most hopeful thing about this film is that it started a national discourse in Pakistan about honor killings ─ something we desperately needed to have.
 

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