Rampant Honour Killing in Pakistan
Honour killing is a savage response within a family against someone who is comprehended to have brought "shame" upon relatives. Honour Killing is particularly prevailing in south Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
Honour killing can be anything from selecting a career which the households reject to marrying outside of the broader community. In majority of the cases the quarrel between the families may end with relatives never speaking to each other again. Some of the victims are forced to go for suicide from the pressure of their families.
In the serious cases observed in honour crimes, the person conceived to have brought the "dishonour" upon the family is murdered.
The majority of the unfortunate ones are women in communities or families dominated by men, while women - sisters and mothers - also play somewhat a part in some of the crimes.
The United Nations has estimated that around 5,000 honour killings take place each year, but since many happen in lonely rural areas and are not reported to concerned authorities, it is probable that the true figure is much higher.
In many countries, the honour killing practice is socially accepted in the communities and families and the murderers are not punished at all. In countries like Pakistan and Yemen, for example, the killings are often ignored by police and prosecutors.
Honour killing is especially noted in Muslim countries. In UK, US and Canada the most famous cases of honour killing involve Muslim families. Even though the development of honour crimes is predominant in Muslims country not a single text within the Holy Quran, allow this.
In Pakistan, honour killings are prevalent throughout the country, though in some areas the occurrences of honour killings have taken an alarmingly high proportion of incidents in recent years.
About 1,000 Pakistani women were murdered last year for willfully dishonoring their families. They were killed by their own relatives for supposedly dishonoring their families.
In Pakistan honour killing is due perceived adultery, premarital sex, rejecting a pre-arranged marriage, marrying against the family's wishes, demanding forcefully a divorce, being raped, or even involved in inheritance or property disputes. Women are on certain occasion are first raped or gang-raped, and the killer is virtually the father, husband, or a brother.
According to HRCP in 2011, 595 of the murdered women were accused of "illicit relations" - largely premarital or extramarital sex - and 219 women married without family permission. Honour based violence can occur in communities where the concepts of honour and shame are basically related to the behaviors of both individuals and families, particularly of women, according to the HRCP.
Most common crime against women was honour killing with 266 such cases having been reported in the province of Sindh last year. It was followed by murder (255 cases), domestic violence (137 cases), suicide (117 cases), Vani/customary practices (87 cases), custodial violence (84 cases) and rape/gang rape (68 cases).
According to the report, the largest number (133) of VAW cases in Sindh were reported in Sukkur which was closely followed by Jacobabad (132) and Ghotki (121).
Poor investigation and prosecution as well as under-developed forensic facilities/expertise was the main cause of the very low rate of convictions in general criminal cases and even lower rate of conviction in the VAW cases, in which discriminatory societal attitudes also played a major role.
More than 1,000 young people in India have been put to death every year owing to 'Honour Killings' related to coerced marriages and the country needs to introduce tight legislation to deal steadfastly with the extremely wicked crime.
Forced marriages and honour killings in India are often twisted together. Marriage can be pushed to save honour, and women can be murdered for refusing a forced marriage and marrying a partner of their own selection who is not acceptable for the family of the girl.
In India, honour killings happen with regularity in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. It happens not only within the Muslim community but also mostly among Sikhs and Hindus."
According to India Democratic Women's Association, Haryana, Punjab and U P account for about 900 honour killings and another 100 to 300 in the rest of the country.
The total figure for India would be about the same as estimated for Pakistan, which researchers suggest has the highest per capita incidence of honour killings in the world.
Pakistan's government has the lack of ability to impose rule of law and they always leave matters in the hands of tribesmen and local elders. As a result of this there is the number of honour killings.
Whatever we may say against the government there is no doubt there has been some advancement in Pakistan on protecting women's rights, human rights activists say that the government needs to do to a greater extent to prosecute murders that are mostly ignored by the police as private, family affairs
Human rights groups thanked Pakistan's legislature for passing laws that strengthen rules against maltreating women, but better enforcement and stricter punishment is still needed.
In terms of evaluating a proper and complete impact of the law for honour killing there needs to be greater access to the courts. Due to the lack of proper police records, or accurate information regarding the end result of the registered cases, without accessing the data available in the court many questions will remain unanswered.
In order to arrive at a proper understanding of the whole issue, it is vital to conduct a similar and corresponding study through the courts. Also, a standardized format for registering FIRs must be decided upon.
It should include questions specifically relating to honour killings as well as domestic violence and any or all other forms of violence against women.
There is a need for major education and awareness about the issue and the law. Clearly, current methods have not resulted in the information being spread far and wide.
Media plays an important role, and not just to report the latest honour killing, but also providing details about the law and its implications.
Children, especially, but also adults, need to be educated about honour killings on some forum or the other. The State needs to take a stronger role to ensure spreading of information.