Unfolding the honour killing phenomenon in Pakistan

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt