No “Honour” in “Honour Killing”

Honour killing is a sad reality of Pakistan and it has the highest number of recorded and estimated cases worldwide.

What Is ‘Honour Killing’?

What exactly is ‘Honour killing’? It refers to the merciless murder of a person for his/her actual or supposed immoral behaviour. This so called immoral behaviour is referred to an extra marital affair, demanding a divorce, refusing an arranged marriage or alleged flirtatious behaviour.

Once the accused is murdered, it is believed that the affected family’s honour will be restored.

Sadly, a majority of the victims are women. Honour killing is not just confined to one’s morals; it may be used as a disguise for a hidden agenda or feud such as property inheritance or to get rid of the spouse to remarry. The most heart wrenching fact is that the murderers are your own flesh and blood.

Saima Sarwar’s case was one of the most publicised cases of honour killing in Pakistan. She was murdered by her own family. What was her fault? She filed for a divorce from her cousin so she could marry by her own choice. Her family felt humiliated and due to the dishonour brought upon them, they murdered her in cold blood.

Cruelty against women and girls in the form of honour killing, acid attacks and rape need serious attention.

It is estimated by Pakistani activists that there are about a thousand honour killing cases every year.  The exact number of cases is not known as most of them go unreported.

With domestic violence and sexually related crimes on the rise, Pakistan is ranked as the 6th most dangerous country for women.

“According to media reports, more than 51,241 cases of violence against women were reported between January 2011 and June 2017. Conviction rates, meanwhile, remain low, with the accused in just 2.5% of all reported cases ending up being convicted by the courts.”

The government needs to take strict action and the perpetrators should be publicly punished in order to set an example.

The whole society has to come forward and play an active role in overcoming abuse and violence against women. The police should cooperate fully with the victims and proper reforms should be introduced. Cases in courts should be settled quickly giving justice to the victims and their families.

We as a society should work together to throw out such evils and help those in need. A change will come only when we change ourselves.

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