By Nida Nida
It was a shivering news for the citizens of the country that a grandfather killed his grandchildren and thrown them from the roof top in presence of their mother who then was also killed by her father only for the protection of honour of the paternal family.
The crime of the daughter was that she married with a man of her own choice.
The father was so vindictive that he waited five years to take revenge of his so called ‘honour’ with his daughter. He was satisfied after taking his revenge with the grand children. He also killed two young men, the brother of the groom as they are responsible for dishonouring his prestige.
Ms Shahnaz Tahir resident of Tara Singh a village of Depalpur, district Okara, Punjab was brutally murdered by his father and his henchmen in the mid of 22- 23 July 2013 night. Shahanz was tied in the knot of marriage with Mr. Tahir Sarwar five years ago. She eloped with Tahir which caused the stigma of her family in the society to stay away from stigma his father vowed to kill her by following traditional practices which are continued from decades.
Tahir after marriage left his home town along with his wife and lived in the other city because of fear of honor killing. After five years of marriage when they decided to visit their parents as they thought that their parents would now accept them but when daughter and his son in law arrived at the house of her father he opened fire on the family.
Shahnaz, her husband Tahir Sarwar and two children Adnan (Son) and Ramsha (Daughter), two brothers in laws, Mr. Zahid and Mr. Nawaz were killed.
After massacre her father ran away with the henchmen. As usual case has been filed in police station and investigation is going on.
In the recent months Pakistan has witnessed brutal murders of married several women in the name of honour and state remained as the silent spectator to curb the century’s old medieval traditions. Though, Pakistan has made a categorical law which made the honour killing as the equivalent to crime of murder. Otherwise the killings in the name of honour killings were treated as a defensive crime to protect the prestige of the family.
Generally, the tradition of killing in the name of honour is a typical way of the land lords who do not want to divide their property.
These types of cases are abundant and occurring in every corner of Pakistan each year. The fire of revenge ended with the loss of innocent lives. The reason was marriage of own choice.
Hundreds of women have been killed by their brothers, fathers, cousins and other blood relatives because of using their own rights.
Another brutal murder was witnessed last year when Ms. Nargis from the Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkha province, was tortured to death and her two children were killed by the family in honor killing. Nargis fell in love with a taxi driver, Mr. Ehtesham, when this news was exposed to her parents they brutally beaten her and kept her inside the house not allowing to go out. One day she was succeeded to elope from house and married with Mr. Ethsham later they tied in the marriage contract and lived a happy life. Nargis after long time went to her home town to see her mother but she was welcomed by her own family with severe. Her family members also beat ruthlessly her two minor children and when their thirst of revenge was not fulfilled then they thrown the infants from the roof top of home and Nargis was forced to see her children’s murder after that she was brutally beaten to death. case of murder was lodged by the family of girl against her husband and Police in this case arrested Mr. Ethsham and his brother and kept them inside the jail for four months and torured them but all the records disproved the involvement of Ethsham in this case but police forced the brother of Ethsham to give statement against his brother and accept that his brother as suspected in this case. Later the Judge released Ethsham and his brother and ordered for new inquiry.
Mostly every month many heart wrenching cases appeared from which some are registered and some are not. Murder of two teen age sisters Noor Basra and Noor Sheza by five gunmen in Chilas, GIlgit of Pakistan is one of them. They were killed because of dancing during the rain outside of their home along with other children and a video was recorded. Their dancing video was leaked in the town due to which their half brother killed them for the restoration of family fame. The case was registered by the brother of the girls against their step brother Khutore and four other alleged.
Similarly in Dera Gazi Khan a woman was stoned to death because of having a mobile. This order was given by the feudal of the area and she was murdered in the name of honor as having a mobile means dishonor for the family. These barbaric actions are still alive in our societies and our state and law enforcement departments are calm on it.
This is an alarming situation for women of Pakistan where killing of the women along with their children in the name of honor is treated as it is no more an offence but is according to Islamic traditions. The society is being forced to denounce the marriage on the basis of choice of the couple. The Talibanisation is not only restricted to the terrorist activities or bomb blasts but its ideology against the freedom of women has seeped in the society with speed and those things which were not in Islam has become the principals of Islam. Therefore, the woman’s right to choose her own life partner is being dealt with medieval violence and customs. They are killed while settling the debts of families or married with aged people, to save the property they are married to the Quran or sell in money, and they are being killed if they raised their voice for their rights, killed if they seek divorce from husbands or the domestic violence, religious misunderstandings against as religion is used against them and many others.
Honor killings are propelled by many factors of the society including feudal culture, customs, traditions, absence of criminal justice system and fair trial, week judicial systems and a gender bias law enforcing agencies.
The landed aristocracy have a great influence in some areas where they hold Jirgas (illegal judicial system for the settlement of the disputes by elders) where generally decisions are taken against the women and minor girls are exchanged to settle the feuds.
By seeking legal protection from Sections 323 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC); the perpetrators (family member/relatives) not only enjoy legal impunity but social redemption as well.
The compensation through the Diyat (section 323 of PPC) the perpetrators got impunity through the law which allows to pay compensation to the victim to settle the dispute outside the court and during that phase the victims (the women) are intimidated, threatened or abducted to accept the meager amount as compensation and courts remain as silent spectators. In many cases the gender bias judges force the affected women to settle the crime outside the courts.
The said section of Diyat has also mentioned a minimum compensation of Rupees 30,000 which has no value. But by keeping the amount of compensation at a minimum level the perpetrators take the advantage of that amount. There is a strong demand from the civil society of Pakistan to abolish Diyat but the state and higher judiciary take shelter behind the Islamic teachings and covering it with sacred norms.
If the higher judiciary and particularly Supreme Court does not take notice of honour killings for punishing women to choose their life partners the society will face worst kind of violence in the name of religion. The has to ensure the protection of girls who are under threats. Government must stop the all kinds of Jirgas.
Another Case of Honor Killing in District Sahiwal
Miss Sana Bibi, aged 19, daughter of Choudry Noor Muhammad and Mohammad Amjad 18, son of Muhammad Ashraf, residents of Kameer, district Sahiwal, Punjab province, married in a civil court against the wish of the parents on 2 December 2012 in Karachi, 1500 kilometers away from their town. Sana was from Arain caste, a rich and powerful while Amjad, the groom, was from a peasant family. As the news of marriage reached to the parents of the girl, Sana, they pressured the father of the groom to call the couple and matter will be settled peacefully. As the couple arrived the girl, Miss Sana, was sent back to her parents as according to the understanding that she would not be punished and the family will arrange marriage in Islamic way.
The father of Sana immediately arranged a Panchayat, the meeting of elders,under the leadership of for chief of the district council, Murtaza Chaudhry, a practicing lawyer and the former leader of PML-Q, the political party of General Musharaf’s and now local leader of ruling party PML-N.
On the suggestions of father of the girl the Panchayat ordered Ashraf, father of the groom, to make unconditional apology on behalf of his son that he did a big mistake by marrying a girl from the tribal chief, second condition was that he should surrender his one daughter to the father of Sana in exchange of committing a horrendous and gross mistake of his son and the third condition was that his son, Amjad will not live in the community and if he was seen he would be killed. There were also Muslim leaders of nearby Mosques who endorsed the decision of the Panchayat.
The father of the groom had no option but to accept the conditions otherwise his entire family has to face dire consequences. The father got heart attack and he remained in hospital for some days. After his release from hospital again another session of Panchayat held on the request of Mosque leaders who said that father of the girl cannot keep the daughter of Ashraf without marriage so he should first marry her. The daughter’s age was 17 years while the father of the girl’s age is 60 year. At this moment father of the girl made fresh request that he is not interested in marriage and if he was forced he will marry with youngest daughter of Ashraf, who is 15 year old. Panchayat agreed that he can marry with youngest daughter.
In the meantime when the Panchayat was forcing the marriage of the youngest sister of the groom, Amjad, the family members of the girl decided to eliminate the groom so there should not be any resistance. Amjad was living in another town and, on 4 January 2014, he was trapped and was asked to come to Sana’s home as she was under sever torture and violence and might be killed. Amjad went to her village with his some relatives including women. As he arrived at Kameer village around seven persons were standing in the fields and they attacked and beat him. They tied Amjad with a tree and shot him in his legs. Then they dragged him to 500 meters and threw him outside the house of Sana. Sana also came out from the house to save Amjad, her husband; the attackers then opened fired on both of them and they died on the spot. Amjad received five bullet wounds while Sana received six.
According to plan, the mother of the girl was given in toxicants in the tea and she remained unconscious for hours and she did not know that her daughter was murdered at the door step.
A police party under Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Ikram Khan reached along with SHO Model Police Station Dalwaryam District Pakpatan inspector Sheikh Aftab. Instead of collecting bodies and inspection of place of incident they talked with the father of the girl at his house and after dealing it was decided to hand over his son, Mr. Tanvir Ahmed, as accused of murder and other murderers will not be arrested and because of absence of sufficient evidences he would be released on bail within one year. Police took 10 hours to file FIR. The DSP Khan in presence of many person patted Tanvir for killing his sister in the name of honour.
Police in support of perpetrators forged the official documents and arrested the Ashraf, father of the groom, on charges creating law and order situation under Sections 107 and 151 of Pakistan Penal Code to pressure him not to file cases against perpetrators, Mosque leaders and police. The Model Police Station Dalwaryam, is using pressure tactics against the family members of groom and making it a case of fight between two groups by eliminating evidences through threats and intimidation.
The family of the groom remains continuously under threats from perpetrators and police. There are chances of killings as police are inciting the groups so that it can turn into bloody clashes; and the tragedy thus continues.