Young man burned to death in the name of honour

Young man burned to death in the name of honour

KARACHI: Despite recently introduced laws by Pakistan government, the horrible practice of Honour killings continue, as a young man who was burnt a few days ago in the name of honour, died on Thursday. During the initial investigations, Zaman Town police of Karachi's Korangi area has confirmed that he was killed in the name of honour.

Usually, the women are killed on the name of honour, but this time, perpetuators have selected a young man as their prey.

Sub-inspector of Zaman Town police station, Sheeraz Ahmed told Daily Times that the victim Shafi was in a relationship with a girl S . Her brother Fayaz after finding information about their relationship came with his friend Nasir Lamba and set him on fire after dousing him in petrol few days ago. "Shafi was shifted to a local hospital for treatment, where he breathed his last on Thursday," said police officials.

Police have registered FIR (No-36/2017) against both the suspects.

Police authorities claim that both suspects wanted in this case are at large and police is conducting raids to apprehend them. Police has also claimed that both of the suspects are known to have a criminal background.

The terrible practice of honor killings continues in Pakistan. The male family members, even relatives kill women for talking to stranger, dressing, marrying on their own will or even if go against the basic teachings.

In 2016, the killings of famous social media start Qandeel Baloch by her brother in the name of honor, made headlines.

Country's independent commission, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) had counted 1100 killings of Pakistani women in 2015 on the name of honor. HRCP's record reveals that around 900 to 1200 women are killed every year in Pakistan under honor killing.

It is not only a misfortunate that the entire community joins hands in the name of honor, but pity is that even perpetrators of honor killings are mostly forgiven by the victim's family. They use Islamic law, the Qisas (eye-for-an-eye) and Diyat (blood money), which was introduced by the military dictator General Zia ul-Haq in the 1970s which was latter amended by the civilian government in early 1990s. Under that Islamic law, the perpetrators of honor killings walk free within few months after paying a small amount as blood money to the family.

To stop the legal protection under the Islamic law, Pakistan government in October 2016 introduced a new law, known as anti-honor killing and anti-rape bill. This new law ensures that perpetrators of honor killings have to face life sentence, which according to Pakistani law, comprises on minimum imprisonment of twelve-and-a-half years. However, the law further states that the family of the victim may forgive him, once he is sentenced to the capital punishment or the life imprisonment.

While the Pakistani politicians are cheering and are terming the new law as a milestone, the human right defenders are still not satisfied with the newly introduced law and they see fundamental flaws in it.

Renowned Human Rights Lawyer and coordinator of HRCP-Sindh chapter, Palvasha Shahab thinks that the law is most seriously compromised because it has not been able to tackle the compound-ability problem effectively at all. "We must recognize that so long as the law contains some version of a pardon- a private pardon- for such offences, we are not doing to move towards eliminating or even deterring these crimes," said Palvasha Shahab.

Dr. Nadia Agha, a faculty member of Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, with a PhD in Women's Studies from University of York, England, thinks that this law will not stop the honour killings in Pakistan until women are not empowered.

"I see this differently, I think it's not about women damaging family's or men's honour, it's about women breaking the patriarchal boundaries and overruling men's authority over them. As a result, they are punished with death," she said, adding that to address this problem is to enhance women's bargaining power which could be done by empowering them with education and employment. "The stronger the bargaining position they have, the more capable they are to fight and survive," she said.