Honour Killings of Woman in Pakistan:

Raja Waqas Raza
Sania Khan 29 years old Professional Photographer a Pakistani-American woman being shot
dead by her Ex – Husband in her apartment, in Chicago , Illinois,America.Her profile on Tik Tok
and her Instagram has been changed to private status. She started Photgraphy when she was
17, she was an entrepreneur. She married a year ago and was going through her divorce
process. She moved from her home town,and restraining orders against her ex-husband and
was trying to rebuild her new life. A typical American Muslim kid, a by product of the american
schooling system and entertainment industry. She was trapped between the division of culture
and religion, the hypocrisy children adapt to early on while losing their identity or trying to figure
out what it is they want to practice in life. Her beautiful life was robbed .It is so sad a young girl
tried to escape an abusive marriage and was killed for her courage. American born,educated
and passionate.

She was trying her best to keep herself financially afloat .She was trying to live fully whatever
her perspective of living life was.What is the difference between Sania Khan if we Compare that
incident to the third country of world, where a young woman with no education, no financial
stability no resources is dealt when escaping an abusive marriage.There is no difference , if
these girls were ending up with death. Who will stop that bloody culture .This is not a first
incident happened.Overseas Pakistani community takes pride in family for honour killings.
Summer vacations have begun for many young peoples. The time to enjoy life in a beautiful
place. But that is not the case for boys and girls who are forced to marry a cousin in their home
country.Every year, boys and girls are left behind in a foreign country to marry a partner they do
not want. Coercion of marriage, especially of minors, is a violation of human rights and causes
unfathomable misery for the victims.Taking someone abroad to force them to marry is a crime
within the European Union, punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros.
Exact figures are not available, but it happens to at least thousands in Europe. young people
every year, often during a “vacation.” On 20 May 2022, two Spanish-Pakistani sisters Aneesa
Abass 24 and Arooj Abass 21 were shot dead by their in-laws while on vacation in Pakistan
because of problems surrounding their forced marriages and their husbands’ desire to emigrate
to Europe.Outsiders can do something if they suspect young people are being forced into
marriage.Marriage coercion occurs in cultures where collective values and norms outweigh
individual desires. This includes child marriages. These still occur in Turkey, Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Syria and Somalia, among others.When will we stand up against
abuse.It is so-called “honour” killing.It is understood that, on arrival in Pakistan, the sisters were
pressured to help their husbands, who they were forced to marry last year, apply for spouse
visas so they could travel too.In Pakistan it was a very shivering news for the citizens of
Pakistan that a grandfather killed his grandchildren and thrown them from the roof top in
presence of their mother who then killed by her father only for the protection of honour of the
paternal family. The crime of the daughter was that she married with a man on her own choice
not on the choice of the head of her family. The father was so vindictive that he waited five years
to take revenge of his so called ‘honour’ with his daughter. He was very satisfied after taking his
revenge with the grand children who were never been the part of the marriage of their mother
on her own choice. He also killed two young men, the brother of the groom as they are
responsible for dishonouring his prestige.

Ms .Shahnaz Tahir resident of Tara Singh a village of Depalpur, district Okara, Punjab Province
was brutally murdered by his father and his henchmen in the mid of 22- 23 July night. Shahanz
was tied in the knot of marriage with Mr. Tahir Sarwar five years ago. She eloped with Tahir
which caused the stigma of her family in the society to stay away from stigma his father vowed
to kill her by following traditional practices which are continued from decades.After marriage
Tahir left his home town along with his wife and lived in the other city because of fear of honor
killing. After five years of marriage when they decided to visit their parents as they thought that
their parents would now accept them and their innocent but when daughter and his son in law
arrived at the house her father he opened the weapons on the family in the result Shahnaz his
husband Tahir Sarwar and two children Adnan (Son) and Ramsha (Daughter), two brothers in
laws, Mr. Zahid and Mr. Nawaz were killed. After massacre her father was very satisfactory and
he opted to run away with the henchmen. As usual case has been filed in police station and
investigation is going on.In recent months Pakistan has witnessed brutal murders of married
several women in the name of honour and state remained as the silent spectator to curb the
century’s old medieval traditions. Though, Pakistan has made a very categorical law which
made the honour killing as the equivalent to crime of murder. Otherwise the killings in the name
of honour killings were treated as a defensive crime to protect the prestige of the family.It was
generally said that the tradition of killing in the name of honour was a typical way of the land
lords who do not want to divide their property in to the in-laws of the daughter. However with the
passage of time the honour killing has also extended to the marriage on choice. Rather than
accepting the marriage of their daughters on her own choice realizing the burden is off loaded
the paternal family resort to take it as the dishonouring the pride of the family and prefer to take
law in their own hands. Such families know better the rule of law does not exist; therefore it was
better for them to kill the women and get the protection from the same the law which in real
sense has become an impotent and teeth less.

These types of cases are abundant and occurring in every corner of Pakistan each year. The
fire of revenge ended with the loss of innocent lives. The reason was–marriage of own choice.
Hundreds of women have been killed by their brothers, fathers, cousins and other blood
relatives because of using their own rights. Similar type of case occurred in last year when a girl
chose a taxi driver as her life partner.

Another brutal murder was witnessed last year when Ms. Nargis from the Mardan, Khyber
Pakhtunkha province, was tortured to death and her two children were killed by the family in
honor killing. Nargis fall in love with a taxi driver, Mr. Ehtesham, when this news was exposed to
her parents they brutally beaten her and kept her inside the house not allowing to go out. One
day she was succeeded to elope from house and married with Mr. Ethsham later they tied in the
marriage contract and lived a happy life. Nargis after long time went to her home town to see
her mother but she was welcomed by her own family with severe. Her family members also beat
ruthlessly her two minor children and when their thirst of revenge was not fulfilled then they
thrown the infants from the roof top of home and Nargis was forced to see her children’s murder
after that she was brutally beaten to death. case of murder was lodged by the family of girl
against her husband and Police in this case arrested Mr. Ethsham and his brother and kept
them inside in the jail for four months and tortured them but all the records disproved the
involvement of Ethsham in this case but police forced the brother of Ethsham to give statement
against his brother and accept that his brother as suspected in this case. Later the Judge
released Ethsham and his brother and ordered for new inquiry.Mostly every month many heart
wrenching cases appeared from which some are registered and some are not. Murder of two
teen age sisters Noor Basra and Noor Sheza by five gunmen in Chilas, GIlgit of Pakistan is one
of them. They were killed because of dancing during the rain outside of their home along with
other children and a video was recorded. Their dancing video was leaked in the town on which
their half brother killed them for the restoration of family fame. The case was registered by the
brother of the girls against their step brother Khutore and four other alleged.Similarly in Dera
Gazi Khan a woman was stoned to death because of having a mobile. This order was given by
the feudal of the area and she was murdered in the name of honor as having a mobile means
dishonor for the family. These barbaric actions are still alive in our society and our state and law
enforcement departments are calm on it.This is an alarming situation for women of Pakistan
where killing of the women along with their children in the name of honor is treated as it is no
more an offence but is according to Islamic traditions. The society is being forced to denounce
the marriage on the basis of choice of the couple. The Talibanisation is not only restricted to the
terrorist activities or bomb blasts but its ideology against the freedom of women has seeped in
the society with speed and those things which were not in Islam has become the principals of
Islam. Therefore, the woman’s right to choose her own life partner is being dealt with medieval
violence and customs. They are killed while settling the debts of families or married with aged
people, to save the property they are married to Quran(Holy Book)or sell in money, and they are
being killed if they raised their voice for their rights, killed if they seek divorce from husbands or
the domestic violence, religious misunderstandings against as religion is used against them and
many others.Honor killings are propelled by many factors of the society including feudal culture,
customs, traditions, absence of criminal justice system and fair trial, week judicial systems and a
gender base law enforcing agencies.The landed aristocracy have a great influence in some
areas of Pakistan where they hold Jirgas (illegal judicial system for the settlement of the
disputes by elders) where generally decisions are taken against the women and minor girls are
exchanged to settle the feuds.The question here is that in the presence of law, which made it a
criminal offence, the honour killings are shaping into very violent and brutal way. Still no one has
been punished according to the law because of the absence of proper criminal justice system
and witness protection law the killers get a good patronage from the police. By seeking legal
protection from Sections 323 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC); the perpetrators (family
member/relatives) not only enjoy legal impunity but social redemption as well. The
compensation through the Diyat (section 323 of PPC) the perpetrators got impunity through the
law which allows to pay compensation to the victim to settle the dispute outside the court and
during that phase the victims (the womens) are intimidated, threatened or abducted to accept
the meager amount as compensation and courts remain as silent spectators. In many cases the
gender base judges force the affected women to settle the crime outside the courts.The said
section of Diyat has also mentioned a minimum compensation of Rupees 30,000(128 Euros)
which has no value. But by keeping the amount of compensation at a minimum level the
perpetrators take the advantage of that amount. There is a strong demand from the civil society
of Pakistan to abolish Diyat but the state and higher judiciary take shelter behind the Islamic
teachings and covering it with sacred norms.

If the higher judiciary and particularly Supreme Court does not take notice of honour killings for
punishing women to choose their life partners the society will face worst kind of violence in the
name of religion. The government must ensure the protection of girls who are under threats and
must stop the all kinds of Jirgas in Pakistan. Discrimination refers to unfair treatment or
inequitable difference between distinct groups of people in society in terms of rights,
opportunities and status. It goes without saying that gender discrimination is a widespread
human rights issue in Pakistan that is badly affecting by huge portion of womens in the
country.Women make up nearly half of total population (48.8 percent) which clearly means that
they are the real assets and strength of the country. Undoubtedly, Pakistan’s sustainable
socio-economic, political and cultural development wholly lies in the equality, empowerment,
participation and representation of women in all walks of life. Despite that the status of women is
below par. More often than not, women encounter multidimensional problems such as honour
killing, acid throwing, harassment, sexual assaults, domestic violence and so on. In addition,
they witness greater inequality in access to health and education. Equal economic opportunities,
political inclusion and decision-making participation are merely a day dream for large chunk of
women in Pakistan.Men are the masters of women’s destiny in a country where they have been
denied all decision-making powers — cultural norms and a patriarchal mind-set are the primary
factors derailing women from progressing in our society.It is widely believed that gender equality
is pre-requisite for building inclusive, progressive, peaceful and pluralistic societies. Gender
parity at educational, economic, political and representative fronts makes prosperity and change
inevitable. Regrettably, the gender gap in Pakistan is alarmingly wider. According to Global
Gender Gap Index Report 2018 released by World Economic Forum (WEF), Pakistan has been
placed 148 out of 149 countries -the second worst country regarding gender equality in the
world.There is no deny that the status of women in health, education and participation especially
in labour market and politics is also unsatisfactory. Reportedly, only 25 percent women are
involved in the workforce, far less than the world average (48.7).When it comes to financial
autonomy, according to World Bank Global Index Report 2017, only 7 percent of women in the
country have financial services account.Gender inequality is a deep-rooted menace in Pakistan
that is potentially hampering its socio-economic advancement and progress. Men are the
masters of women’s destiny in the country where women are denied all decision-making
powers. Cultural norms and a patriarchal mind-set are the primary factors that are derailing
women from coming out of four walls to play their part. That’s why women are always behind
bars and unable to stand shoulder by shoulder with men. Women who live in poor households –
battle grave economic obstacles ranging from poor infrastructure to inadequate transportation
facilities, financial constraints to inadequate nutrition and extreme water shortages to poor
sanitation.It is evident that with the exclusion of almost 100 million women, Pakistan cannot
reach the pinnacle of progress, peace and stability.Therefore, there is dire need to ensure that
half of Pakistan’s has equal opportunities in political leadership, economic decision-making and
managerial representation. Government must chalk out effective strategies to bridge the
widening gender gap and inequalities through social, economic, educational and democratic
participation and partnership of women.Furthermore, women financial empowerment is also
crucial for closing the gender gap. Equitable financial access will not only foster women’s
bargaining power within the household but will also help improve their health, education,
nutrition and food security status. In addition, state should strive to eliminate all forms of
discrimination and violence against women. Most importantly, the government should work
round the clock to empower women through education so that they can be active economic
actors in the realm of socio-political development of Pakistan.

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