LAHORE: The number of reported honour killings in the city during 2013 was 17 while it was 10 during the previous year, showing an alarming surge of 70 per cent in such happenings during the current year.
The figures show that the trend of killing women in the name of honour is increasing in the provincial metropolis at a worrying rate, while most of the victims are below 25 killed by their family members.
In 2013, maximum number of cases – four– was reported in August, followed by three in September. Two cases each were reported in June and July of 2013. Police arrested the accused in 13 of the cases during the year and submitted their challans in courts, showing 76 per cent detection rate. In a majority of cases, a single accused was nominated.
Deputy Inspector General of police (investigation) Zulfiqar Hameed says the number of such incidents varies each year and in most cases the accused are released by courts because of ‘reconciliation’ and compoundable nature of the offence.
He, however, adds the families of the victims murdered by their husbands and in-laws under the garb of honour usually pursue cases for some time but mostly due to non-availability of witnesses the suspects manage to get their bails confirmed.
The DIG is of the view that special legislation is required by the parliament to curb the trend and bring the killers to justice.
“If the state becomes complainant in such cases that are usually lodged by victims’ parental side in case of unmarried women, a widow or a divorcee and by in-laws’ side in case of married women, such incidents could be prevented by getting the culprits convicted”, he added.
He says in some cases husband or his family members kill a woman over domestic dispute but falsely claim ‘honour’ to be the motive.
Punjab University psychology department chairperson Prof Dr Raukhsana Kauser holds behavioral rigidity, social taboos, misuse of religious beliefs and media exposure responsible for violence against women, particularly the honour killings.
She is of the view that male family members need to respect the feelings and personal freedom of women, especially of the unmarried ones who should be allowed to choose their life partners.
Dr Kauser says electronic media depicts a culture to which people try to conform, eventually making male family members take law into hands only against females. She wonders why only the women, married or unmarried, are targeted for ‘honour’ and no body questions the sexual digressions by males. Religion and social taboos are exploited in such cases, she adds.
According to a psychiatrist, around 50 per cent cases in which women are targeted by their parental side or the in-laws on suspicion of immoral activities don’t get reported because of family norms. — Muhammad Faisal Ali