Thursday, September 4, 2008

Karo-Kari, Part 3

We continue from Part 2 with Honor Killings Plague Pakistan, from Islam OnLine (IOL):

Government Blamed

Many blamed the government for failing to stem this social cancer.

"The government is not serious to take any concrete step to curb this menace," Iqbal Haider, Secretary General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), told IOL.

An important point to keep in mind -- the Government of Pakistan "is not serious to take any concrete step to curb" honor killings.

Pakistan outlawed honor killings, but the problem has not gone away; the Government of Pakistan has not really been trying to stop honor killings.

Makes me wonder if Benazir Bhutto was not assassinated to save someone's sense of honor...?

Haider, a former federal law minister, said that different women rights organizations had constituted a committee under his chairmanship last year, which proposed to the government declaring honor killing an "uncompromisable" crime.

"In 90 percent cases of honor killings, the culprits are close relatives (father, brother, uncle or cousin) and therefore they are easily forgiven by the family of the deceased," he noted.

"If the government is serious to curb this phenomenon, it has to repeal the clause of Wali (guardian) vis-à-vis honor killings from Pakistan Penal Code," insisted the HRC chief.

"Murder is not an offense against an individual. It is a social evil, which terrorizes the society, therefore strict legal and administrative steps must be taken to wipe out this phenomenon."

"Murder is not an offense against an individual. It is a social evil, which terrorizes the society, therefore strict legal and administrative steps must be taken to wipe out this phenomenon."

Haider said the parliament fails to draft an appropriate legislation against honor killings because of the influence of feudal lords there.

"Most of the parliamentarians consider honor killings as part of their culture and matter of their honor, which in realty is not."

Honor killings are supposed to be prosecuted under ordinary murder in Pakistan, but in practice police and prosecutors often ignore it.

Often a man must simply claim the killing was for his honor and he'll go free.

In 2004, the parliament passed a bill making honor killings punishable by a prison term of seven years while the death penalty could be inflicted in the most extreme cases.


Rakshanda Naz, Joint Director of Aurat (Women) Foundation, said the government had taken some initiatives against the ugly crime, but it was focusing on procedural amendments rather than amending the main law.

"For instance, honor killing should be treated as crime against state, but practically it is not," she said.

"Even if court refuses for settlement, then the option of out of court settlement is still there, which favors the culprits as in most of the cases close relatives are the killers."

Naz believes the phenomenon could not be controlled 100 percent as it remained part of society in different shapes during different times.

"This phenomenon varies in different provinces of Pakistan," she said.

"In NWFP, a majority of decisions regarding honor killings are taken on individual or family basis, while in Sindh and Punjab this decision is taken by jirga or Punchayat (assembly of tribal elders)," noted Naz.

"Ratio of honor killings is higher in those provinces where agriculture lands are abundant. Land is the main reason behind a majority of honor killing incidents in Sindh and Punjab."

Investigations in most honor killing cases reveal that the victims - males and females - have been killed by their relatives to confiscate their properties, settle down personal enmities and tribal feuds or implicate rivals in false cases.

As I pointed out in Part 2, the concept of "honor killings" is abused, even by the perverted rules that justify it.

Naz insists that the tribal culture and mentality remains one of the major reasons behind honor killings in Pakistan.

"Tribal leaders have set up their own courts to decide about life and death of their respective tribesmen. Unfortunately, these tribal lords are dominant in parliament too. Therefore, they don't let any adequate legislation pass against this heinous crime."

Similar practices have been known since ancient Roman times, when the Pater Familias (senior male within a household) retained the right to kill an unmarried but sexually active daughter or an adulterous wife.

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

anticant said...

Most Muslims in Britain were either born in Pakistan or are descended from those who were. Unfortunately, a minority of them have imported this cultural cancer into our society.