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The Menace of Honour Killings in Pakistan

Pakistani civil society activists carry placards during a protest in Islamabad on July 18, 2016 against the murder of social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch by her own brother. The brother of a murdered Pakistani celebrity said he is "not embarrassed" to have killed her, as Qandeel Baloch's death reignited polarising calls for action against the "epidemic" of honour killings. The strangling of Baloch, judged by many in deeply conservative Muslim Pakistan as infamous for selfies and videos that by Western standards would appear tame, has prompted shock and revulsion. / AFP / AAMIR QURESHI        (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Menace of Honour Killings in Pakistan

There is no honour in killing!

Abdul Rasool Syed

Woefully speaking, women in our country are subjected to various kinds of abuse and persecution. Rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, acid attacks and honour killing are the most common injustices that a Pakistani woman has to face in our patriarchal society. Of all these crimes against the womenfolk, honour killing is the most heinous and it is, unfortunately, increasing at a disturbing rate in our society. Figures collected by various research organizations in this regard are quite startling and heart-wrenching. According to one estimate, Pakistan has the highest volume of documented and estimated honour killing per capita in the world – about one-fifth of the world’s honour killings happen in Pakistan (1000 out of the 5000 per year, in total).

Despite enactment of harsh legal penalties to put an end to this burgeoning social menace, we, as a nation, have miserably failed to achieve something worthwhile in this respect. Rather than decreasing, this shameful social evil is ballooning day in day out in our society.

Honour killing is defined as murdering a member of the family in the name of honour; it is usually the female who is murdered for the ‘crime’ of bringing shame to the family. In rare cases, men are also victims of this heinous practice, if they bring dishonour to their family or community.

In our country, honour killing is ubiquitous in all four provinces. However, Sindh and Blochistan are the most affected ones. In Sindh, this shameful practice is called “Karo Kari,” and in Balochistan, this is dubbed as “Siahkari” or “Siakhel”.

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