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Honor Killing – A New Normal

Khurshid Ahmad

Khurshid Ahmad
The writer is student at School of Politics and International Relations at Quaid-I-Azam University Islamabad

Apart from the myriad problems face by tribal region including rise in terrorism, growing disputes over lands, plundering and killing, killing of innocent people in the name of honor is growing challenge. It is not a new phenomenon and become a new normal in the region and across Pakistan as well. Pakistan has introduced laws related to honor killing, but that are not liable due to permeate culture of Panchayat and Jirga in rural areas. According to Pakistan Human Rights Commission, more than 1000 cases of honor killing are carried per year in Pakistan.
A few days ago, two girls were shot dead by paternal cousin in (Garyum) a village situated on the border line of South and North Waziristan. According to police sources, a video went viral as a man videotaped three girls a year ago. As a result of this video leak and its wide circulation compelled the family members to kill those girls.
Honor killing is very common in tribal areas. They consider it a source of restoration of honor. In some cases, when a couple flee without parents’ permission and marry. Then after killing them, it is celebrated by the family and think that their honor has restored. Women are killed in the name of honor if they refuse arrange marriage, demand divorce, or want to marry of their own choice. Due to culture pressure, tribal don’t go for legal system.
In December 8, 2004 a bill was passed by parliament about honor killing but rejected it and considered it un-islamic. Although, the bill was passed due to domestic and international pressure in 2006. The law was made that if a person who kill someone in the name of honor would be imprisoned to seven years and death penalty in sever cases.
Similarly, an anti-honor killing bill was passed by parliament in 2016. A law was made that a person who kill someone would be imprisoned for twelve years and can only be pardoned by the family members of victim. However, these laws did not diminish the cases of honor killing due to the inspiration from culture.
The culture of honor killing permeate mostly in rural areas. In such cases, they don’t go for legal system, instead of that they opt for Jirga and Panchayat. These systems decide punishment for infidelity or any other mishap. Moreover, honor killing is justified by them. So, in such anarchical situation, they are left with no other option, but to kill them.
Now, the question arises that why more cases of honor killing in Pakistan particularly tribal areas? Pakistani society is patriarchal where women are deprived of their basic rights. Most women have no access to education.
The only solution to this plight of women is to educate them and about their rights. Extension of legal system to tribal areas and obliteration of Jirga and Panchayat is also the need of time. People must be educated about women rights. Thus it will lessen the cases of honor killing.