Murderer of polio worker walks free despite anti-honour killing law

Murderer of polio worker walks free despite anti-honour killing law

KARACHI: Despite recently introduced anti-honour killing law, Munir Shaikh, who was arrested three years ago for killing his wife Naseem Munir Shaikh, a polio worker, could not be convicted as he was allowed to walk free from the prison.

On the midnight of May 22, 2014, in the jurisdiction of Karachi's Sachal police station, Naseem Munir was killed. Police had arrested her husband Munir Shaikh who later confessed murder of his wife in the name of honour killing. In the case her son Janahzeb, was also nominated for helping his father in his mother's murder.

Naseem, mother of three children, was a founder of Karachi branch of the All Pakistan Lady Health Workers Employees Association, fighting for better pay and conditions, including security for the vaccinators.

In Ladhi Town, where she used to work, Taliban had attacked three times and killed more than 6 polio workers and she also survived an attack. She was killed by her husband under the pretext of honour.

Naseem's father, Muhammad Yousif Buriro, had filled a petition for the conviction of Shaikh. "Initially, he threatened us to withdraw the case but when we refused, he asked us to forgive but we refused," said Wazeer Ali Buriro, elder brother of Naseem Munir.

Later, relatives of Munir Shaikh visited Naseem's native village Mehar in Dadu district of Sindh and asked Shaikh's forgiveness and Naseem's father, Muhammad Yousif Buriro, keeping the traditional Sindhi culture's value, forgave and agreed to withdraw the case. Recently, after Buriro withdrew the case, Munir Shaikh was allowed to walk free from the prison.

Wazeer Ali Buriro seems not happy with his father's decision. "It was all because of the lengthy system of justice, we spent almost three years, but we couldn't get justice and also we almost spent every penny but couldn't get justice," he told Daily Times.

Until recently, culprits like Shaikh were mostly pardoned for killing women to protect the family's honour. In October 2016, federal government of Pakistan introduced anti-hounour killing, which said that culprits of honour killings will face a life sentence, with a minimum 12-and-a-half years' in jail. However, despite that law, perpetrators are still enjoying impunity.

Women rights activist like Dr Nadia Agha of Shah Abdul Latif University in Sindh think that the introduction of law was not enough and it also needs to be implemented practically. "Besides law, we need to sensitize men too," she said.