ISLAMABAD,May 27, 2005: Statistics of a study carried out by an NGO has revealed that some 1,250 women were killed in the country during 2004. The organisation has pointed out that the statistics on the frequency of the honour killing remain shadowy, as it occurs in the family’s home and goes unreported. However, women rights groups have documented 410 incidents of killing for honour from January to September 2004.
The Sparc’s annual report “The State of Pakistan’s Children 2004” has termed the low status of women in the society and the sympathetic attitude of the judiciary towards the killers, responsible for its growing figure.
According to interior ministry, more than 4,000 males and females have been victims of honour killing in the last six years. Since 1998, some 3,451 cases of honour killing have been registered of which 1,262 are currently awaited courts’ decision.
Each province in the country has its own tradition to deny women their right to a normal life. The traditions are Karo-Kari in Sindh, Tore (honour killing) in NWFP and Balochistan, and Swara and Walvar (bride price). The harsh traditions can better define the status that women enjoy in the society, where little girls are married off to men of their father’s age that left them to live a life of isolation, frustration and bitterness.
Going against these set traditions causes the killing of women by allegedly involving them in some illicit relations is a common practice in the society.
According to the report, though the government has tried to get the crimes under control by making certain legislation, like in 2003, the Punjab Assembly unanimously passed a resolution banning Vani/Swara and called for rigorous punishment for ‘compensatory marriages’.
By the same token, NWFP law department prepared a draft law banning Swara, making it a panel offence. However, the report elucidates that this draft could not deter Afsheen’s father from marrying off his nine-year-old daughter to a man four times of her age to pay for a crime she did not commit.
Similarly, the National Assembly also approved a bill in 2004 that enhanced the punishment for honour killing, including Karo-Kari to life imprisonment or death. The legislation fixed for the first time a minimum of ten years imprisonment for such murders. Despite the legislation, no fall in honour killing may be observed that conveys a clear message and of problems that persist with its implementation, increasing literacy level and creating large awareness.
Source: Business Recorder