By Saira Shahliani
SEPTEMBER 24, 2019
The menace of honour killing, or the Karo-Kari as it is referred in the local jargon, continues unabated even to this day despite the fact there is huge hue and cry within the society. Unfortunately, people consider it as matter of honour, disregarding all the laws of the state. It is an awful to consider why we have failed to prevent this dangerous phenomenon within our surroundings.
This ages-old ferocious practice continues to plague our society. This ancient practice, in which people considered killing their fellow humans on the basis of honour, a matter of dignity. They act complainant, prosecutor, judge and executioner- all at the same time, which is not only against the moral values but also law of the land. Even if a person is guilty of indulging into the illicit relation, he or she shall be punished by the court of law, but no individual has the right to kill a person on his own whims and wishes. Society has been under the grip of that regressive trend since long.
That pretext can be used to suppress women from playing their vital role in the society. As time and again we come across such incidents that women are killed on the pretexts of honour, women try to restrict their movement or even try to avoid performing their routine activities outside their home fearing that they might also be the victim of this trend on mere false accusation of honour killing. In addition, some of the male members are also mostly reluctant to send their female members outside their home for their sceptic nature. Resultantly, women’s movement is restricted within four walls of their home.
Furthermore, discussing this issue has become a taboo subject, which complicates the situation. For instance, no one is willing to debate this problem, find out the solution and implement the solutions because it is associated with honour. People with blinkered mind-set consider killing in the name of honour as a matter of pride and celebrate it. Those who oppose these killings are condemned by these killers or their sympathizers as “Beghairat (dishonourable person)”. Sadly, we have limited our honour to that very shameful act. As the subject is treated as taboo, no one is willing to openly condemn it for fear of backlash from these very handful people propagating violence in the name of honour. Even when I first time became Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) of Sindh in 2002 I was invited at a talk show on that subject and I was bit reluctant, however, I discussed with my father who himself has also remained member of the legislature in the past, he encouraged me to talk about this subject without fear of backlash against this illegal killing in the name of honour.
This ages-old ferocious practice continues to plague our society. This ancient practice, in which people considered killing their fellow humans on the basis of honour, a matter of dignity. They act complainant, prosecutor, judge and executioner- all at the same time, which is not only against the moral values but also law of the land
I have also witnessed such issues time and again. I can recall such an incident when I was in my hometown, Garhi Khairo near district Jacobabd when our neighbours were discussing that a girl in nearby neighbourhood was shot dead by her father in the name of honour, because she was suspected illicit relation. Thus, it brought bad name to her family, so she was punished. Can I dare to question such mind-set that whether that killing helped to regain honour to that family? Furthermore, Qandeel Baloch also fell victim to such heinous practice. Her brother was provoked by the people around and he killed her on the that very pretext. Later on, he was forgiven by his parents and the killer was set free.
Ironically, whenever honour killing occurs, a close relative- mostly brother, uncle or father, commits such an unforgivable offence and he is forgiven by the heirs. This behaviour motivates the killers to continue killings with impunity. As they are well aware that someday even if they will be arrested, their heirs will forgive them. After all, parents or relatives cannot sustain twin issues simultaneously.
It is high time that all the stakeholders should take holistic efforts against these illegal killings. No one has the right to kill anyone. If one is guilty, he or she shall be prosecuted by the state. In this regard, the stakeholder should also come at the forefront and play their vital role in sensitizing populace against honour killings. Media, academicians, politicians and religious leaders have to play their role in this respect without fear of backlash and preach that there is no honour in killing. Besides, implementation of law which criminalizes honour killing in letter and spirit is urgently required without further delay.
The writer was three times MPA of Sindh Assembly and had also served as the Convener of the Sindh Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (SWPC)
Original Headline: The heinous offence of honour killing
Source: The Daily Times