KARACHI : At least 50 women were killed this year in different parts of Sindh under Karo-Kari, while 28 men were also murdered in ‘honour’ killing.
This information was revealed by Abdul Khaliq Shaikh, the DIG headquarter Sindh Police, in his presentation at a consultation on Karo-Kari, titled ‘Karo-Kari/Honour Killing — A Crime Against Humanity; Reasons and Challenges in Stopping the Menace’, held by the Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) at a local hotel.
The purpose of the event was to address the menace of honour killings in the wake of the recent rise in such incidents across the province. A panel comprised of federal and provincial lawmakers, and members of the civil society, judiciary and law enforcement agencies discussed the issue and suggested solutions to deal with it.
DIG Shaikh said the Sindh police had been focusing on the prevention of honour killings and it had formed an anti-honour crime cell in this regard. “We have previously set up a database, trained over 2,000 officers, developed a training manual, and also developed a separate manual for violence against women.”
The officer added that the police department had recently formed a human rights cells, as well as human rights desks in every district, along with setting up a network against gender-based violence in collaboration with civil society.
Nafisa Shah, an MNA of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the author of ‘Honour Unmasked’, said modernisation and reforms within the formal state and justice system were required to deal with the issue of honour killing. “The case [of honour killings] does not exist outside the state, the courtroom is implicated, the law is implicated and the criminal justice system is deeply implicated… The idea of restorative justice becomes strong when investigation systems and criminal justice systems are weak,” she said.
Nafisa said that even though the aspect of culture and customs could not be ignored when one talked about honour killings, our criminal justice system was in a dire need of reforms and the so-called garb of Islamisation had had a lot of impact on our criminal justice procedures.
SHRC Chairperson Justice (retd) Majida Razvi spoke about the sufferings of women and young girls within the province, especially cruelties inflicted on them in the name of honour. She was of the view that the issue of honour killing was a matter of urgency, which needed to be dealt with in consultation with all the stakeholders. She also highlighted the lack of implementation of laws in this regard.
Justice (retd) Shaiq Usmani, former chief justice of the Sindh High Court, said Karo-Kari had a cultural aspect and it meant to restrain women and deprive them of independence. “There is a need for different laws. An anti-honour killing law should be made to separately deal with this heinous crime. A separate commission or institution must be formed to deal with cases related to honour killings,” he said.
Anis Haroon, a former member of the National Commission for Human Rights, said the issue of honour killings was not a new issue. “Every other day we witness a new wave of honour killings,” she remarked. Citing the SHRC’s previous annual report, she stated that 118 cases of honour killings took place between 2017 and 2018.
She added that several cases of Karo-Kari also went unreported. “When dealing with the cases of honour killings, the judges and police are all under pressure,” she said.
Other speakers at the consultation included Chief Minister’s Special Assistant on Human Rights Veerji Kohli, Justice (retd) S Ali Aslam Jafri, Szabist Social Sciences Department Dean Dr Riaz Ahmed Shiakh, Aurat Foundation Resident Director Mahnaz Rahman and Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Faizullah Korejo. The event was moderated by Zulfiqar Shah from the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research.