A new wave of honour killing has surfaced in Pakistan. Cases are now being reported on a daily basis. In the last week alone, on average 6 to 7 cases of honour killing were reported, in which 9 people were killed including 2 men and 2 minor girls. What adds salt to the wounds is the fact that all these killings were based on mere suspicion.
Some attribute the increase of such incidents as a result of communication boom. As now with smart phones the social networking sites are accessible to a large segment of the population both in urban and rural areas. As a result of this opposite sexes can now freely interact in the virtual domain in a primarily conservative society.
Although honour killings is a global phenomena, but in Pakistan the frequency of such incidents is very high. Every year hundreds of women lose their lives and many cases are often never reported. The accusations not merely include pre-marital sex or adultery but also such trivial matters objection on the victim’s right to work, stands up to defy local norms or (dare I say!) the unforgivable sin of choosing her life partner.
However, it seems that the notion of hounor only pertains to women as there has rarely been a case where a male member of the society has been murdered for ghairat (i.e. honour) by a wife, daughter or sister.
The role of jirga system also needs to be introspected because in many parts of the country they serve as a parallel judicial system often defying laws and legitimizing honour killings.
In 2016, after the killing of social media icon, Qadeel Baloch, the government reinforced honour killing laws and revoked the pardon clause, which often allowed the family of the killer to pardon the murderer.
To eradicate this curse, the parents must keep an eye on their children’s activities (both sons and daughters) and build an environment where children can discuss any matter without fear. For disciplining minors we need to explore non-violent methods.
Lastly, the government needs to ensure that the laws are not just passed but are also implemented in letter and spirit and those who commit these horrifying crimes are duly punished by the courts.
Remember! While a murderer may escape from procedural laws but eventually s/he will have to answer for this grave sin in the hereafter.