Dis­hon­our of ‘hon­our’ killings

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -


The he vi­cious prac­tice of hon­our killings en­gulfed yet an­other vic­tim. The im­mo­la­tion of Zeenat Rafiq is

fourth case in the last two months of the “so-called” hon­our killing, grab­bing the me­dia at­ten­tion. The 18-year old teenager dared to defy her par­ents’ author­ity to choose a groom for her and eloped with some­one she wished to marry. The in­ci­dent brought so much “dis­hon­our” to her fam­ily, that her heart­less mother took the ex­treme step to burn her alive. In­stead of deal­ing with an is­sue with moth­erly traits of ma­tu­rity and sen­si­bil­ity, she re­sorted to take the life of her own blood. No words can ex­plain the hor­ror of this bru­tal­ity and no amount of ar­gu­men­ta­tion can jus­tify such con­cept of “hon­our killing”. Killing one’s fe­male fam­ily mem­bers in the name of hon­our is the ex­treme form of pa­tri­archy, re­in­forced by some of our so­cial cus­toms, which tie the con­cept of hon­our specif­i­cally with the fe­male gen­der. Men are el­e­vated as high and su­pe­rior be­ings as op­posed to their fe­male coun­ter­parts. Many women are rarely pro­vided with their fun­da­men­tal rights and free­doms as guaranteed by the Qu­ran, Sun­nah and coun­try’s Con­sti­tu­tion. Their wings are clipped when­ever they want to take a flight for them­selves. Fur­ther dam­age is done by the re­li­gious clergy who strike down any mean­ing­ful de­vel­op­ment in the realm of women’s rights and search ways to “lightly” in­flict harm on women’s bod­ies. As a so­ci­ety too, we have be­come in­creas­ingly cal­lous and de­sen­si­tised to the crimes com­mit­ted against women. We hardly bat an eye­lid on the cries and suf­fer­ings of this vul­ner­a­ble seg­ment of so­ci­ety. Hon­our killings, acid at­tacks and sex­ual ha­rass­ment have be­come rules rather than ex­cep­tion, and all we hear af­ter oc­cur­rence of such in­ci­dents are shal­low words of sym­pa­thy and con­dem­na­tion, only to be re­peated un­til an­other woman loses her life be­cause of vi­o­lence com­mit­ted against her. It is shame­ful that in a civ­i­lized world where the dis­tinc­tion be­tween rights and roles of men and women is in­creas­ingly nar­row­ing, we are still re­luc­tant to give women their due rights and priv­i­leges, and sup­press their voices. When will we start treat­ing women as equal ci­ti­zens? When will we stop sac­ri­fic­ing women to grat­ify our false sense of hon­our? How many more Am­breens and Zeenats will be burnt alive as a pun­ish­ment to tram­ple upon the hon­our of their fam­i­lies? When will the hon­or­able re­li­gious clergy sit­ting in the coun­try’s supreme re­li­gious Coun­cil open its eyes against the blood spilled in the name of hon­our? How many cen­turies do we need to wash away the dirty stain of hon­our killings from our so­ci­ety? Th­ese per­ti­nent ques­tions need mean­ing­ful an­swers to be­gin a dis­course on th­ese mur­ders and for­mu­late a nar­ra­tive against them. —Via email

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