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January 18, 2012
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Civil society demands end to jirga’s role in deciding cases

Karachi

January 18, 2012

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Islamabad
Civil society representatives have demanded that jirga’s mandate to decide cases of honour killings should be abolished and abolishment should be implemented in letter and spirit.
They were speaking at the documentary launch ‘The Honour Deception’ organised by the ActionAid on Tuesday. Gang rape victim Mukhtaran Mai was the chief guest on the occasion. The other speakers included Samar Minallah and Sana Saleem. The launch was preceeded by a daylong activity of mural paintings by artists and participants of the documentary launch.
The speakers said that compounding of offences and waiver of punishment in cases of honour killing must not be allowed under the law. They demanded that the state structures and institutions should be made responsive towards the cases of honour killing while state should explicitly become guardian (wali) in the cases of honour killing.
They mentioned that at the time of registration of FIR, honour killing should be explicitly mentioned and that it should not be registered like other murders so that even if there is a compromise, the perpetrator could be awarded minimum punishment.
They urged media to play its role in highlighting such incidents in a gender sensitive way. They said that collaborative efforts of civil society, media and government could help end increasing incidents of honour killings in the country.
Mukhtaran Mai said that the implementing agencies should be sensitised about laws relating to women. “Most of the women victims are discouraged by the police when they approach police station,” she said.
Samar Minallah appreciated the role of parliamentarians in passing a number of women friendly bills, which included a bill on acid violence, anti-sexual harassment and customary practice. She highlighted the legal lacunas in proper implementation and interpretation of the law. She told the participants that after the passage of the customary practices bill, the state had declared such

inhuman and gender insensitive practices as absurd and offence too.
Referring to Mukhtaran Mai, she said that women should not always be portrayed as victims rather they should be presented as survivors and fighters. “She is among the brave women who had set up an example of bravery and strength by not succumbing to social pressure and injustice.
Shabana Shiekh from Shahdadkot presented a case study of an honour killing survivor who was also focused in the documentary. A personal story of Sania from Shahdadkot, Sindh, was the most striking case highlighted in the short film. Sania was forced to reach a compromise with her husband under pressure from the family and also because she was the mother of three children. It helped the audience to reflect upon social practices we follow where victims are forced to forgive the culprits.

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