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Killing of two girls for ‘honour’ condemned

Lahore

May 18, 2020

LAHORE:An NGO’s activists on Sunday strongly condemned the killing of two teenage girls in Waziristan in the name of “honour”. They said it was outrageous how incidents of patriarchal violence against women go largely unnoticed by those in power.

“This incident is the embodiment of patriarchal violence and the overgrown patriarchy which is responsible for taking the lives of many women. Women’s bodies are not repositories of family honour. The state must respond and act in order to bring an end to this on-going patriarchal violence against women,” said Ismat Shahjahan, president Women Democratic Front (WDF).

A non-consensual and inappropriate video of young women has been circulating online for a few days, which is believed to have been the reason of their violent murder. Another girl, who was also seen in the video, is currently missing. The FIR has been registered in Ramzak police station. According to the FIR, the murder took place on May 14.

In a joint press statement, WDF leader from KP Mumtaz Tajik said that the powerful men in the area who incited violence against the young women, also enjoyed state patronage. “We demand that the men involved in inciting violence, as well as those who leaked a private video despite knowing the sensitivities should be taken into account.” She added that “domestic violence still largely remains an acceptable norm in our society, where women’s bodies and lives are considered property of the family men.”

Patriarchal violence against women has been on the rise globally during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Pakistan has seen a surge in these cases. In the first month of the lockdown, eight women were killed in Swat, while trivial issues led to incidents of patriarchal violence against women in Sheikhupura, Karachi, Hyderabad, Peshawar and other areas.

Although legislation aiming to prevent patriarchal violence are in place, the inability of the state to strictly enforce them and the loopholes in the law that allow perpetrators to be forgiven by the family of the victim, makes it easier to bypass the law. Although legislation alone cannot guarantee an end to patriarchal violence but the absence and opposition of a bill criminalising domestic violence reeks of the anti-women biases of the ruling parties and the state,” said Nargis Khattak, leader of WDF Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The WDF activists demanded the government enact stringent laws to check women killings, and ensure that perpetrators do not escape justice on the pretext of the waiver or compounding of the right of qisas by the wali of the victim/s”. WDF demanded that the government exercise its discretion under Section 311 of Pakistan Penal Code to refuse such compromises in cases categorised as “honour killing”.