Without any incertitude, women are the most marginalized and discriminated gender in our society. They are often insecure and vulnerable to oppression at the hands of men. Every time a woman steps out of her home, she is weak and diffident; be it schools, workplaces or any other public space, a feeling of inferiority that surrounds most women goads them to face inhuman treatment, abuse and even domestic violence. Since men are, supposedly, the beings in our society who decide how honourable a woman is, it is considered a despicable act if a woman brings cases like these on the forefront or reports them to the police.
Domestic violence is one of the most gruesome acts committed against women in Pakistan. But, the plight of the repressed women does not end here. It’s horrifying and distressing that over the recent years many of the cases of domestic violence have led to the horrendous killings of women — most of them killed in the name of honour. And, this is the menace of honour killing that, undoubtedly, is a big, daunting challenge that our society is facing at present.
As the name itself suggests, honour killing is killing a person, in most cases women, to protect the honour and prestige of a person, family or clan. Women are subjected to honour killings when they are accused of bringing bad name to their families by committing an act their family disapproves. Although our religion and the law of the land are against this heinous crime, honour killings are still rampant in Pakistan and every now and then we hear news of such killings. It is on a frequent basis that women face violence especially at the hands of men, but the perpetrators of such violence often go scot free and even if they are punished, the punishments are often lenient.
However, it is quite encouraging for women that Pakistan’s parliament recently passed a piece of legislation whereby a punishment of life imprisonment for those who commit an honour killing, and 25 years’ of imprisonment if the family of the oppressed forgives the oppressor, has been introduced. The new honour killing law articulates that if a woman is murdered in the name of honour by a close relative or member of the family, they will whatsoever be held accountable and will be awarded strict punishment even if they are pardoned by another family member. This piece of legislation was sanctioned after an outrageous cry on social media over the heinous honour killing of the social media star Qandeel Baloch.
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