Now Reading: Father Murders Daughter for Honour Over Suspicion of Being in a Relationship
A woman was murdered by her father in Lahore’s Shalimar region on Wednesday in another brutal incident of ‘honour’ killing over suspicion of being in a relationship with a man.
The woman, identified as Shahnaz Bibi, was a mother of six and had recently begun living with her children in a separate house following her divorce from her husband, Kashif.
The father, identified as Akram, suspected his daughter of being in a relationship with a man named Zubair, according to initial information.
He opened fire on them when he saw the two of them together, apparently inside Shahnaz’s home. Shahnaz died on the spot, and Zubair was severely injured.
Shamim Akhter, the mother of the victim, lodged a case against her husband at the Shalimar police station. After arresting the perpetrator, the police began legal proceedings.
Cases of Honour Killings in Pakistan
Pakistan has the highest number of documented and estimated honor killings per capita of any country in the world; about one-fifth of the world’s honour killings are performed in Pakistan
In Pakistan, every week brings fresh news of strangled women, girls shot or sisters drowned for a perceived slight “honour” of the family. A single individual is sometimes accountable; a group of male family members is more often involved. Vast majority of the murderers go unpunished.
Pakistan’s parliament unanimously passed legislation against killings linked to the concept of “honour”, or “izzat”, following the murder of Qandeel Baloch in 2016. The death of the social media celebrity, who was killed by her brother in the name of “honour”, sparked international outrage.
The bill authorized life imprisonment for convicted murderers. Previously, killers could win or buy freedom if the victim’s relatives forgave them. But killings of people who “violate certain patriarchal codes” have continued at the same rate.
In some rural parts of Pakistan, the male-dominated jirga, or tribal council, decides affairs and its executive decisions take primacy over state legislation. A jirga arbitrates based on tribal consensus and tribal values among clients. Tribal notions of justice often include violence on client’s behalf. For example, in December 2017, a local jirga in Karachi, Pakistan, condemned Ghani Reham and Bakhtaja to death by electrocution. The teenage couple, 18-years-old and 15-years-old, had eloped. The killing was sanctioned by the jirga and then carried out by the couple’s fathers and uncles.
The surge in crimes against women has increased in recent years. There is still a lack of awareness, especially in the rural areas and women are treated as objects.
According to Dr Anam Fatima, the issue was linked with the importance of reputation in societies. Patriarchy has existed in our society for ages and men from traditional backgrounds take pride in ‘male dominance’. There is growing concern among such men, originating from traditional cultural backgrounds, that in alien lands “their” women may get “tainted” by the surrounding dominant culture. In order to avoid this, they may become exceedingly strict about religion, assume aggressive attitudes and at times resort to violence
She says that men who are socially deprived and economically constrained may tend to develop “narcissistic enjoyment” by exercising power over women.
Statistics of Honour Killings in Pakistan
According to Aurat Foundation statistics, collected for its annual reports on violence against women, a total of 557 women were killed in the name of honour in Pakistan in 2010, whereas 604 women were killed in 2009, and 475 women were killed in 2008.
Statistics have shown that usually women are killed after being declared “kari” and men are often able or made to escape from the scene of killing.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan lists 460 cases of reported honour killings in 2017, with 194 males and 376 females as victims. Of these killings, 253 were sparked by disapproval of illicit relations and 73 by disapproval of marriage choice. In 2015 nearly 1,100 women were murdered in honour killings.
In the name of honour, at least 83 women were killed only in Lahore in 2020.
After arresting them, the police filed charges against the suspects in 62 cases, while 21 cases were being investigated.
Following image shows statistics on honour killing based on gender:
What is Honor Killing?
Honor killing is an act of murder, in which a person is killed for his or her actual or perceived immoral behavior. Such “immoral behavior” may take the form of alleged marital infidelity, refusal to submit to an arranged marriage, demanding a divorce, perceived flirtatious behavior and being raped. Suspicion and accusations alone are many times enough to defile a family’s honor and therefore enough to warrant the killing of the woman.