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December 7, 2019

Flawed ‘honour’


December 7, 2019

A medical board which has examined the body of Gul Sama, the child aged around 10 years who was allegedly killed for honour as ‘karo kari’ in a village in the Dadu district a fortnight ago, has found her face, neck and torso to be badly fractured. They believe these injuries which caused her death followed a jirga verdict. The body was exhumed from a graveyard near the Kirthar range for examination and a number of persons including the girl’s father are under arrest. There are attempts on to detain others in the case, some of whom have fled towards Balochistan. The precise details of why the girl was declared ‘kari’ is not clear, but people in the neighbourhood say it arose from her playing with children from neighbouring homes.

While human rights groups have expressed deep concern over the stoning, the fact is that despite an attempt to tighten up laws on honour killings notably after the murder of Qandeel Baloch, such cases continue under the system of feudal justice and jirga verdicts still in place even in more developed areas. In this case a police officer became the complainant in the matter. We do not know how many other girls may have been killed without the truth surfacing. The parents of Gul Sama say the stones had fallen on her in an accident. However, it is known arrangements had been made earlier for her funeral by a local cleric.

The reality is that some 1000 women continue to be killed each year on the grounds of honour. There are also other kinds of violence against women, such as the kidnapping of Dua Mangi from DHA in Karachi. Although it appears the case is turning into one of kidnapping for ransom, with an amount reportedly demanded from the family, what is shocking are the remarks appearing over social media. Using their full names and pictures people ask why Dua was walking in a public space, what clothes she was wearing and why she was accompanied by a young man. Such attitudes explain why women remain at huge risk in our country. The problem will continue until they can be respected as citizens who have equal rights and who must not be used on the pretext of saving family honour or on other grounds.

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