PESHAWAR, June 11: It was on the very first night of Farhana wedding, when her husband strangulated her. In the morning when a number of women were gathered at their courtyard to have a look of the young bride, they were aghast to found the bride lying dead inside the room.
It was the night for which her husband has waited since she has refused him, but then she was forced and finally he took his revenge. On that first night of her wedding, she was killed because she has claimed her right over her own life.
Police have arrested the killer who has confessed to his crime but the victim family has little hope for justice.
‘Honour killings’ on rise
According to Honour based violence awareness network a 1000 ‘honour killings’ cases are reported in Pakistan every year. However, only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, says Aurat Foundation, a total of 724 women were killed in during 2016 in which 190 were killed by their husbands, 50 by their brothers and 24 by their fathers.
Taimur Kamal, Coordinator Pakhtunkhwa Civil Societies Network said that around 30 women were murdered in ‘honour killings’ and domestic violence related cases since the beginning of 2017 but hastened to add that this is not complete list as many cases go unreported and the actual number can be triple of the total cases reported.
Though K-P police department, have not yet finalized the 2017 data however, the data of 2016 was provided to The News Eye shows that 40 cases of honour killings were registered last year in which four cases were under investigation while 36 cases were worked out and challaned.
“These are no doubt, not a complete number of cases,” said the senior police official who doesn’t want to be named “most of the cases in rural areas, such as domestic violence are not being reported to Police stations.”
So-called ‘honour killing’ – defamation of Islam
After the killing of 25-year-old Farzana Parveen by her relatives in front of a Lahore court on May 27, last year, 50 religious scholars met and issued an edict against so-called honor killings. Another 30 clerics of the Sunni Ittehad (Unity) Council in Lahore also strongly condemned the honour killings and announced that is strongly prohibited by Islam.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with religion,” says Maulana Faridoon Khan to The News Eye. He added Islam doesn’t allow anyone to take the law into his own hands. If a man found that his wife, sister or any other female has committed something wrong, there is always a need of four witnesses to testify before Qazi and even if she is proved guilty, only the Qazi has the authority to issue orders of punishment, according to relevant law. The Maulana warned that decision of the individuals will create disruption in society; it can turn into Fitna that can engulf the peace and tranquility of the whole society.
Regressive patriarchal force still prevails
“K-P sees a rise in honour killing,” says Neelam Chattan, a social activist based in Swat valley told The News Eye, Swat is one of the districts where maximum of such cases are being reported. “The so called Honour killings have become a way for regressive patriarchal forces to re-assert themselves in return.”
She added that girls have awareness and they know how to secure her rights, they are not being allowed to take decisions of their life by her own free well and can select her life partners as here even the signature on her Nikhah nama is usually put by her father in her place.
“They are not ready to accept the reality; they just look at the surroundings in which they live which has become more conservative after years of militancy and Talibanization,” added Chattan.
“Honour killings” –a result of week institutions
The women rights activists are of the view that both federal and provincial government should made this issue a non compromise able, the state or police should be complainants while a minimum of ten year of punishments must be maintained for such heinous crimes against women.
Here is no use of arguments but use of power and force, said Justice (R) Sher Muhammad Khan, deputy Chairman of human rights commission of Pakistan in K-P told The News Eye though we have laws but due to the weaknesses of government’s institutions it has never been applied properly in such cases.
In most every case, he added, usually a close relative is involved in violence against women due to which there is often no witness available to come forward and testify before the court. Khan added that police have to devise modern ways of investigation and collection of evidence to punish the offenders, instead of only depended on witnesses.
“her force is being used to impose views upon others instead of any mutual respect for his views and rights of expression of others.” he added that here education level is very low, here is people have no knowledge of country’s laws and hence, here is no one to accept others rights. The retired judge added that the Islamic law strongly forbids any violence against women as everyone has the right to take their own decision.
“I think we have situation which is like a domestic terrorism,” says Taimur Kamal “All issues related to women are still considered a very private matter and are not frequently reported. Women are either forced to or prefer to suffer in silence.”