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Violence against women: In most honour killing cases, SHOs ‘favour’ the guilty party

SUKKUR: In most crimes against women, the SHOs register soft cases against the offenders. The FIRs are also written in such a way that nobody can even read them properly. The handwriting in the FIRs should be very clear and everybody should be able to read it.

These views were shared by speakers at a workshop titled “Prevention of Violence against Women” held on Tuesday to train and sensitise police officials, especially the SHOs, who practically own their respective areas.

The SHOs register cases under lenient legal sections for the “karo kari” murders (honour killings) and thus the culprits go scot-free after one or two court hearings, either on benefit of the doubt or due to insufficient evidence.

The Sukkur SSP, Peer Mohammad Shah, Khairpur SSP Irfan Baloch and the Ghotki SSP, Mazhar Nawaz Shaikh believed that in most cases, not even the details of the murder are noted properly and the officers don’t bother to seize the murder weapon.

Especially in the karo-kari cases, it has been observed that the SHOs favour the culprits by saying they murdered due to “ghairat” (honour). This is wrong, a murder is a murder, karo-kari or otherwise, they said, urging that the SHOs should stop taking women as a commodity and change their mindset.

The SHOs rule like kings of the police station and their jurisdiction and because of their attitude people are afraid to visit the police stations, the police officials added.

Although the Prevention of Violence against Women project was launched in October 2010 to control crimes against women, it has failed to achieve results, Sukkur ADIG Shaukat Ali Abbasi said. “Since 2010, the SHOs are being trained on how to deal with women-related crimes but it seems that either they do not understand its importance or they don’t want to understand it.”

In urban areas, women are allowed to go out and work with men but the situation in rural areas is quite different. Women are mostly kept away from schools and from their childhood are told that they have to take care of the household. “In our male chauvinist society, we are not ready to give equal rights to the women and this is where the fault lies,” said Abbasi.

Life of a woman living in rural areas revolves around the same things. She has to wake up early in the morning, feed and milk the cattle and then prepare the family’s breakfast. She then goes to the fields and works there till noon. Then she returns home to prepare lunch and then return to the farm to work till dusk. “And in the process, if she is seen talking to someone from the neighbourhood, she is labelled a kari [adulteress],” the Sukkur ADIG explained.

Criticising the police, the president of the Sukkur bar association, Hadi Bux Bhatt, women rights activist and PML-F leader Safia Baloch among others were of the view that the rate of conviction in women-related cases is negligible, which encourages the criminals. The police take active part in jirgas held for karo-kari and other related matters, which is condemnable.

The project officer, Sobia Agha, thanked the police officers for cooperating with the civil society representatives on highlighting violence against women. She claimed that since the launch of the project, women-related crimes have reduced in the province.

The Express Tribune