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HONOR killing

HONOR killing

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Published by farhanbogra
Women enjoy the same status as men in the eyes of law as well as in religion.
Woman is an entity not a commodity.
If one wants to change the current situation, then the change must be taken by ourselves.
Govt. can show more sincerity in the implementation of law concerning women folk.
Women enjoy the same status as men in the eyes of law as well as in religion.
Woman is an entity not a commodity.
If one wants to change the current situation, then the change must be taken by ourselves.
Govt. can show more sincerity in the implementation of law concerning women folk.

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Published by: farhanbogra on Sep 09, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Women in Pakistan live in a world structured around strict religious, family and tribalcustoms that essentially force them to live in submission and overall fear. In a nationwhere Islamic law dictates traditional family values and is enmeshed in the legal system,Pakistan’s government, law and society discriminate against women and condone gender- based violence. Though Pakistan ratified the United Nation’s Convention on theElimination of Discrimination Against Women in 1996, herein referred to as the Women’sConvention, it has failed to remove discriminatory laws against women. It hasadditionally failed to create new laws and to enforce existing laws that protect womenfrom discrimination and violence. Pakistan has yet to integrate many of the Women’sConvention’s provisions into domestic law and educate the Pakistani population of itsresponsibilities under international law to promote women’s rights. Due to these failures,women’s rights in Pakistan are progressively deteriorating. Women are subjected todiscrimination and violence on a daily basis due to the cultural and religious norms thatPakistani society embraces. Pakistan’s interpretation of Islam views women as needing protection, which essentially results in their suppression physically, mentally andemotionally. Though they constitute approximately forty-eight percent of the population,women have a low percentage of participation in society outside of the family.1According to the 1999 report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, only two percent of Pakistani women participate in the formal sector of employment. Ninety-three percent of rural women and seventy-two percent of urban women are illiterate. 2 Womenare often confined to “char divari,” a term translated literally to mean “the four walls of the house.” Men are the decision-makers, especially in family matters such as marriageand divorce. Strict family, tribal and traditional Pakistani Islamic values dictate thatwomen are considered property of male family members. Pakistani society essentiallyviews a woman as being owned by her father or brothers before marriage, and her husband after marriage. This commodification of women is one of the main factorscontributing to violence against women. If men believe that women are mere property,men are more inclined to feel that they may do as they please to women. Women areviewed as chattel. Therefore they are not allowed to offer their own opinions, as that isviewed as talking back. Nor can they disobey men. Women are taught to live insubmission. Even though Islamic law requires that both partners explicitly consent tomarriage, women are often forced into marriages arranged by their fathers or triballeaders. The Constitution of Pakistan does not require anyone older that 18 years old tohave parental permission to marry.3 Additionally, Article 16 of the Women’s Conventionstates that nations must ensure that women have an equal right to marry the partner of their choice. Though these laws exist in Pakistan, if a woman chooses her husband it isoften viewed as a shameful act of defiance against her family and defiles the honor of  both her family and, if the family has arranged a husband, the future husband that thefamily has chosen. The marriage of a daughter is seen in terms of price and honor. Thus,a woman’s honor, “purity” and demeanor are prized possessions controlled by men. Onlyfew sections of Pakistani society allow for women to freely choose their husbands. Maledominance and commodification subjects women to violence on a daily basis in Pakistan.Approximately seventy-percent to ninety-percent of Pakistani women are subjected to
domestic violence.4 Typical violent acts include, but are not limited to, murder in thename of “honor,” rape, spousal abuse including marital rape, acid attacks, and being burned by family members (often labeled an accident by family members). A rape occursin Pakistan every two hours with one in every 12,500 women being victims of rape. Fivewomen per day are killed and two women per day in the region of Punjab alone arekidnapped.5 Incidents of women being burned by men throwing acid, an act that severelydisfigures its victims, has increased as well. It was estimated that over 1,000 women werekilled in the name of honor in 1999 alone, a phenomenon that is growing annually.6Amnesty International reported that in 1998 in Punjab, 888 women were deliberatelykilled with 595 of these being killed by relatives and 286 of these women killed for reasons of honor. In the Sindh region, in just the first three months of 1999, 132 honor killings had been reported.7 Women are killed in the name of honor due to society’s viewthat a woman’s every action reflects upon a family’s honor, especially a man’s honor.Therefore, if family members, especially a male family member, view that a woman’saction is “dishonorable,” he feels that in order to restore that honor to him or his familyhe must kill her. The decision to kill a female family member is often a family or tribaldecision. Many women are killed due to an unsubstantiated rumor that has been passedaround the community. Many men do not give women the benefit of the doubt, or bother to find out her side of the story. Many young women are killed due to the mere accusationof having sexual intercourse outside of marriage, only to have been found to be virginsduring autopsy. Women who seek a divorce are also often victims of honor killings. Onerecent example is the high profile case of Samia Sarwar who was murdered in her lawyer’s office in April of 1999 by her family because she was seeking a divorce from anabusive husband.8 Even more shocking is that women who are victims of rape often become victims of honor killings because they had intercourse outside of marriage eventhough it was non-consensual. Newspapers in Lahore reported that over four women per week were injured when their stoves allegedly burst, killing on average three of the four women. Male family members assert that these incidents were “accidents” though manyvictims, if they survive, have stated that they were intentionally set on fire by their husbands and/or husbands’ families - - a practice similar to honor killings. “Bride burning” is often a result of the alleged disobedience of the wife, the inability of a womanto have male children or a wife failing to have a large dowry.9 Amnesty International,along with many other organizations reporting statistics related to violence againstwomen in Pakistan, acknowledged that their numbers should be viewed as conservativedue to the fact that many violent acts against women are not even reported.
Women in Pakistan face all kinds of gross violence and abuse at the hands of the male perpetuators family members and state agents. Multiple form of violence includes rape;domestic abuse as spousal murder, mutilation, burning and disfiguring faces by acid, beatings; ritual honour killings and custodial abuse and torture.Every year in Pakistan hundreds of women, of all ages and in all parts of the country, arereported killed in the name of honour. Many more cases go unreported. Almost all gounpunished. The lives of millions of women in Pakistan are circumscribed by traditions,which enforce extreme seclusion and submission to men many of whom impose their virtually proprietorial control over women with violence. For the most part, women bear the traditional male control over every aspect of their bodies, speech and behaviour withstoicism, as part of their kismat (fate), but exposure to media, the work of women's rightsgroups and the greater degree of mobility have seen the beginnings of women's rightsawareness seep into the secluded world of women. But if women begin to exert theserights, however tentatively, they often face more repression and punishment: the curve of honour killings has increased parallel to the rise in the awareness in rights. Stateindifference, discriminatory laws and the gender bias of much of the country's policeforce and judiciary have ensured virtual impunity for perpetuators of honour killings.In the international human rights arena, honour crimes against women are understood asa form of domestic violence, i.e. violence against women in the family or community.Based on the dichotomy of private and public spheres and perception that the former wassomehow less significant, domestic violence was earlier perceived as private acts withinthe family and not as an issue of civil and political rights. The United Nations hasexplicitly recognized violence against women as human rights issue involving stateresponsibility. The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women has defineddomestic violence as " violence perpetrated in the domestic sphere which targets women because of their role within that sphere or as violence which is intended to impact,directly and negatively, on women within the domestic sphere. Such a violence may becarried out by both private and public actors and agents. This conceptual framework intentionally departs from traditional definitions of domestic violence, which addressviolence perpetrated by inmates against inmates
Concept of Honour:
10The time has come to put an end to such violence against women. It is paradoxical thatwomen o enjoy such a poor status in society and have no standing in family should become a focal point of a false and primitive concept of family honour, which they areaccepted to uphold at the expense of their inclinations and preference in the matters of marriage.According to Advocate Asma Jehangir:"Honour is only a pretax to murder women for property and in many cases, for gettinglighter punishment for heinous crimes"In Another statement she said,"I asked them so many times when people talk about honour and our religion talks abouthonour: When do they ever raise their voices when women are openly sold in the market?Is this an honourable thing to do?

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