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Khanewal stoning

Published Jul 22, 2012 03:07am


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JUST when the shock at the last grotesque outrage begins to wear off, Pakistani society seems to throw up a new incident to recoil at. As reported in this paper, the Supreme Court on Friday came down hard on the Punjab administration over reports that a woman had been stoned to death in a village near Khanewal. Adding to the shocking — though, can it be termed as shock anymore? — Maryam Bibi, a 25-year-old mother, was lynched on the orders of a local panchayat. She had reportedly refused a landlord’s advances, which led to the man levelling questionable charges against her and to the woman’s eventual lynching in her own home. The incident reflects a frightening proclivity for violence on the flimsiest of contexts.

The negative role jirgas and panchayats have played in Pakistan, particularly where the abuse of women is concerned, is no great secret. Going on the available facts of this incident, this sort of twisted system of ‘justice’ punishes women even if they try and defend themselves from rape and assault. Passing laws and making commissions is great, but two major steps need to be taken to check incidents such as these. Firstly, the specific laws regarding human and women’s rights must be taken up in a methodical way. This includes punishing police and administration officials who look the other way or are complicit in the crime by protecting ‘influential’ suspects. For example, in this case the apex court has censured the police for not taking action despite knowing about the crime. Secondly, a social catharsis and rebirth of sorts is needed — difficult as it may be. It would be a slow process and would require civil society, politicians, community leaders and the clergy working together to end such crimes. The road towards eradicating violence in the name of tradition in Pakistan is long and bumpy. Yet the state and society cannot sit idle and must act to ensure incidents such as the one in Khanewal do not occur in this country, while those responsible for the woman’s murder must be punished.

Comments (14) Closed

wqaer Jul 22, 2012 11:15am
very sad.....
Hamid Abbasi Jul 22, 2012 01:39pm
I agree. Hamid Abbasi
Waheed Mazhar Jul 22, 2012 07:10pm
Tragically the Media's blue eyed boy, Mr. Imran Khan, who is posed as a tsunami of change, is a staunch supporter of Jirgas and Punchayats, lets imagine the state of affairs if Mr. Khan comes to power.
Iftikhar Husain Jul 22, 2012 11:20am
Massive publicity is required to high light this horrible crime it does not come in mind how such a crime is carried out by people. It is the duty of the government, courts, police, civil society and the religous leaders to come out openly and hit hard on these people.
Muhammad Jul 22, 2012 12:12pm
Pakistan is, for sure, going to stone age.
uzma salim Jul 22, 2012 06:38am
carrying forward way is nice but along with many others, this is also a bitter reality that findings of "powerful" criminal is always a question....which never be who is "responsible" is little bit difficult here..
Bakhtawer Bilal Jul 22, 2012 07:00am
Such are the things that give rise to vigilante justice. Punchayat / jirga is the killer. With the current laws on the book, this jirga like so many before them will survive.
allaisa Jul 22, 2012 09:04pm
The only way to stop this type of crime is to mete out the same punishment to all jirga members for pronouncing this judgment. They all should be stoned to death.
Shafi Jul 22, 2012 09:48pm
Is it so impossible to outlaw jirgas and punchayats? In the modern world there should be no place for medieval institutions.
Dr V. C. Bhutani Jul 22, 2012 11:13pm
" . . . those responsible for the woman's murder must be punished". That's easier said than done. How do you identify them? There was a group of men from the village stoning the hapless woman. Does it mean that all adult men from the village were guilty? They may well have been, but how do we know? Identifying the guilty ones is going to be difficult. Even then, a murder should not fail to lead to some consequences. Exemplary punishment in one case shall serve to dicourage similar acts in the future. Islamization has gone deep into Pakistan's society and psyche since the time of Ziaul Haq. There is no way of undoing that. The only remedy is modern education, which is a process of slow impact. It could easily take a whole generation - or longer. I anyone prepared to turn away from Islamization? V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, India, 23 July 2012, 0443 IST
Khazina Jul 22, 2012 11:55pm
madad chahti hai ye hawwa ki beti yashoda ki hamjins radhaa ki beti payambar ki ummat zulaikha ki beti jinhe naz hai hind par wo kahan han kahan hain kahan hain kahan hain Zara mulk ke rahbaron ko bulao ye kooche ye galiyan ye Manzar dikhao jinhen naz hai hind par unko lao jinhe naz hai hind par wo kahan han kahan hain kahan hain kahan hain kahan hain kahan hain kahan hain
Agha Ata Jul 23, 2012 02:55am
When the first case of Satti was brought before an English judge, back in 1850's, he ordered her father (Or someone responsible for suttee) to be hanged in the very first hearing. The man pleaded and said "This is in our faith to suttee a widow." The judge looked into his eyes and said, if a man kills anyone for any reason, it is in my faith to hang him."
ASAD BHATTI Jul 28, 2012 07:11am
The glimpse of tribalism can always be seen in this part of the world. Islam is never practiced in its true sense anywhere now.
Fahad Jul 30, 2012 12:09pm
With due respect, Islam came to eradicate such injustice which stems from ignorance. Islam did not come against polytheism or sins, it came against ignorance. Polytheism and incidents given above are the fruit of ignorance. It may be ironic to some people but exactly a similar incident in 1995 led to the establishment of a Taliban government in Afghanistan. A local landlord had abused a couple of women who were rescued by the Taliban, whereas the the landlord was hanged in public. This event gave the Taliban popular backing as the people saw that there was a place they could go for justice. Of course people will dislike my comment, but facts are facts.