It is to all intents and purposes an abject failure of the state and the legislature in particular to strengthen the criminal justice system with laws that can root out the common crime of the inaccurately named ‘honour’ killing. The vacuum has hence yet again led to a gruesome atrocity in Chakwal, where a couple was hanged by a tribe for marrying against its consent. The fact that such couples marry of their own accord as grownups besides exercising their inalienable right under the law of the land, is invariably disregarded given the extent of sanctity attached to men’s sense of honour.
These incidents occur largely in rural and tribal areas where the anachronistic panchayet system and biradriism have ensured that women are kept at the receiving end of male chauvinism in literally every sphere of life. A long drawn struggle is required to stamp out these norms and customs but it must begin now.
The existing penal arrangements, which includes legislation by the PPP setup to ensure women’s right place in society — are clearly not enough mainly because these do not take into account how commonly and how ominously misplaced honour is invoked in a woman’s everyday life. Apart from the usual factor of corruption plaguing our criminal justice system particularly the lower judiciary that can be easily exploited with either cash or influence, only laws followed up with awarding swift and deterrent punishments to the offenders will curb the evil.