KARACHI: A grossly under-reported crime, honour killing could only stop if we develop a culture where dissent is accepted and oppression is publicly opposed. What’s perpetuating this crime across Pakistan, however, is silence. People do not show any resistance when such cases occur.
These views were shared by speakers on Thursday at a seminar titled ‘End violence against women and girls’ organised by Karachi University (KU) and the Management Consultancy and Training Services (MCTS) at KU arts auditorium.
The event was part of a global campaign titled ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ (Dec 25 to Dec 10) under the UN theme, ‘Orange the World:#HearMeToo’. By Our Staff Reporter
Giving a presentation on the subject, former inspector general of Sindh police Niaz Ahmed Siddiqi shared data on honour crimes in Pakistan according to which more than 4,000 cases of honour killings were recorded from 2011 to 2015 in the country.
Of them, 2,156 were reported in Punjab followed by Sindh (1,165), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (331) and Balochistan (205).
“Most of these cases involved close relatives; 21 per cent brothers, 15pc fathers, 11pc each intimate partners and cousins, relatives nine per cent, spouse seven per cent, unknown factors account for three per cent and women one per cent,” he explained.
Delving upon the factors behind increasing violence in society, Mr Siddiqi said that silence was promoting violence.
“We all know that killing is against the basic tenets of Islam but people (generally) do not show any resistance when such cases occur,” he said, adding that often honour crime victims were buried without funeral prayers and in separate graveyards in rural Sindh.
Fouzia Tariq of MCTS spoke about the nature of honour crimes and measures required to help prevent such cases. She called upon raising a voice against all kinds of oppression and inculcating a sense of respect for women into children.
Kapil Dev, human rights activist, said that most victims of honour crimes didn’t have access to social and mainstream media and that’s why it’s important to conduct awareness programmes especially in poverty-stricken areas.
“It’s unfortunate that verifiable data on crimes against women is not available in the country as they often involve close relatives and people felt ashamed of highlighting these issues.”
Regretting that honour killings are rampant across the country, KU Vice Chancellor Prof Mohammad Ajmal Khan underscored the need for collective and continued efforts to change society’s mindset towards women and issues relating to them.
“We must develop a culture wherein raising a voice against such issues is encouraged. Every individual has a role to play in spreading awareness among family members and relatives, be it a workplace or a worship place so that we can practically do something to end violence against women and girls,” he said.
He blamed primitive tribal traditions as one of the major reasons behind violence against women and said that society needed to put an end to socio-economic barriers holding women captive and that, he pointed out, could only be achieved through quality education at the grass-roots level.