THE number of women — and men — being killed in the name of ‘honour’ keeps rising at a disturbing rate in this country. Only last week, three brutal cases of ‘honour’ crime were reported. A father confessed to killing his daughter, her children and husband in Hafizabad in Punjab because she had married a man of her own choice four years ago. A woman and her teenage neighbour were strangled by the woman’s husband and father in Karachi on the suspicion of an extra-marital affair. In another account, the KP police in Mansehra and Battagram districts have yet to investigate the murder of a married woman and a man — the alleged perpetrators identified by a witness as the woman’s father and grandfather. And these are not isolated incidents. While HRCP documented 737 ‘honour’ crimes between June 2017 and August 2018, the figures do not reflect the full picture. This is because most cases go unreported as families — and even survivors — fear they will never get justice. Even after arrests, convictions rates remain abysmally low because the real challenge is the legal loophole allowing perpetrators — often fathers, husbands, sons, brothers and uncles — to go free as victims’ families can pardon them. For women oppressed by patriarchal dictates, the law does not prevent killers from roaming free while society sanctions this behaviour by first policing women, then blaming them and silently accepting their cold-blooded murder. It is condemnable, then, that the state has yet to remove the ‘forgiveness’ loophole from the anti-honour killing law.

Regressive traditions supporting murder in the name of honour are reason enough for removing punishment waivers and compoundability provisions from the law. In cases where the state becomes the prosecutor in crimes against women, perpetrators have been penalised. Instead of presenting misogyny as tradition, the government is duty-bound to strengthen police investigations and court procedures so that justice is served and the killers of women jailed.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2018

Opinion

Lull before the storm
Updated 24 Oct 2021

Lull before the storm

It does not take rocket science to figure out why each of the two sides is taking the stand it is.
The larger debate
Updated 23 Oct 2021

The larger debate

The revelations show how the economy promotes inequality.

Editorial

Anti-government rallies
Updated 24 Oct 2021

Anti-government rallies

Banning a party because it can create a public nuisance sets a dangerous precedent which can be repeated to justify future bans.
24 Oct 2021

End of polio?

AFTER a long struggle, the reward is finally in sight. With only a single case of wild poliovirus reported this year...
24 Oct 2021

Heritage work

IT is encouraging that, slowly, projects of heritage conservation and preservation appear to be taking off. These...
A final push
Updated 23 Oct 2021

A final push

PAKISTAN’S hopes of exiting the so-called FATF grey list have been shattered once again. The global money...
23 Oct 2021

Kabul visit

FOREIGN MINISTER Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s flying visit to Kabul on Thursday is the first official high-level...
23 Oct 2021

Baqir’s blooper

THE remarks made by State Bank governor Reza Baqir at a London press conference have hit a raw nerve in Pakistan. In...