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260 Karo Kari victims in 90 days

Two hundred and sixty-two people were victimised in the name of honour killings (karo kari) during the first three months of the current year, increasing the count to 1,567 when added to figures released in 2006.

According to a report released by the database section of Madadgaar Helpline on Wednesday, 1,305 cases of Karo Kari were reported in 2006 and a further 262 were victimised between January and March 2007.

Of the victims, 110 were male and 131 were females; 12 of these were minors. Fifty-one of the culprits were related to or acquainted with the victims –14 were brothers, 16 were fathers, 24 were husbands and 119 culprits are still unknown. Thirty-seven culprits were in-laws and one was an ex-husband.

These figures have been collected from cases reported in the print media daily, thus they only represent the tip of the iceberg. However, a number of cases remain unreported so one cannot gauge the actual percentage, said a source at Madadgaar, adding that the majority of the cases reported were from Karachi, Multan, Sukkar, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Lahore, Shekhupura and Dharki.

According to further breakdown of the total 1,567 cases, 508 were killed under the allegation of having illicit relations, 539 were murdered after being declared Karo kari and 428 were killed because they got married according to their own free will.

The ways and means used to murder them include severe physical torture in 304 cases, gunshots in 857 cases, 126 people were axed while acid, burning to death and giving electric shocks also featured in some cases.

Zia Awan of Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid while lamenting honour killings, said that the government must provide protection and shelter to the people declared Karo or Kari. Otherwise these people will be compelled to leave the country to get protection abroad and this will defame Pakistan.

The NGO further appealed to the government to allocate a sufficient amount from the budget for the establishment of proper shelters and protection of victims of discriminatory and cruel practices. “It is regrettable that in spite of an increase in several cases in the name of Karo Kari, no mechanism has been developed at the government level to provide legal and financial help and protection for the victims,” he stated.

He also said that Pakistan has international obligations under various international laws, including Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women to ensure protection of women and guarantee enforcement of their fundamental rights, including the right to life and honour. Despite these obligations, the numbers are steadily increasing.

Source: The News