Most honour killings in Pakistan reported in Punjab

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ISLAMABAD: Around 1,707 honour killings were reported in Punjab from 1997 to 2003, making the province the leader with regards to gender-related violence.

A report, ‘The Concept of Justice in Islam — Qisas and Diayt Laww’, prepared by the National Commission on the Status of Women and funded by the United National Development Programme (UNDP) presented this information. It adds that till present, the courts have disposed of 1,142 of the 1,707 cases.

According to the report, honour killing is an extreme form of domestic violence, which is rampant in Pakistan because of the patriarchal system prevalent in society. It states 172 cases of murder and 67 cases of other forms of gender violence were reported in NWFP during the same period. Only 10 convictions have been made in the 141 cases presently disposed of by courts.

It states 57 cases of murder and 39 related to gender violence were reported in Balochistan, of which 39 cases have been disposed of with 17 convictions and 22 acquittals. In Sindh, 910 honour killings were reported in the same period, of which only 268 cases have been disposed of with 25 convictions and 268 acquittals.

According to the report, cases of domestic violence, rape, gang rape and chopping off of body parts are on the rise. It states culprits of honour killings are acquitted in most cases and claims that the judiciary shows leniency towards these crimes. It has been held by the courts that “a murder committed on account of ghairat (honour) is no offence”, claims the report.

According to statistics compiled by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), 172 cases of honour killing were reported in Punjab in 2003, of which 16 victims were minors, 69 were single women and 61 were married.

The HRCP has also reported that 82 percent of women in rural Punjab feared violence from their husbands over minor matters and 52 percent of wives admitted to being beaten by their husbands in the most developed urban areas. Women are rarely compensated for injuries sustained by them, particularly in domestic violence, and most victims are not aware of their rights, reports the HRCP.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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