In October 2016, an anti-honour killing bill was passed to protect women against the so-called male honour in Pakistan. This law was, no doubt, the result of society’s unwavering struggle against patriarchal structures, as well as obsolete norms. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the government endeavoured to grant a death penalty to any person who commits murder in the name of honour. Moreover, permission was also granted to use DNA evidence in such cases. By passing this law, it was anticipated that Qisas and Diyat laws will no longer be applicable in cases of honour killing. That very law was considered a ray of hope for many; unfortunately, it led nowhere. This legislation proved ineffective and failed to eradicate honour killing. However, it is quite evident that merely passing a law is not enough the things which are deep-rooted in our society cannot be eliminated until a transformation is brought in the mindsets of people. Honour killing, as a custom, has evolved over centuries and has been adopted by various upper as well as lower sections of society. This culture prevails in almost all parts of Pakistan, not only in remote areas but also in the developed ones. In our country, women are dealt with as the repository of male honour. Men consider it their religious and cultural right to control the women in their family. Society has created a set of rules for women, which if not followed results in men “losing” their honour. To maintain this status quo and set an example for other women in the family, it is normal to use violence against women who do not abide by the rules. Killing women in the name of honour is considered an appreciated act in a good chunk of Pakistan. According to the Human Rights Watch Report 2018, violence against women and girls — including rape, honour killings, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage — remained a serious problem in Pakistan. A recent report by the HRCP reveals that in the last three years alone, some 2,900 women have been killed in the name of honour. However, these figures are not credible enough because hundreds of murders go unreported. The International Honour Based Violence Network (HBVA) estimates that about 1,000 women are being killed in the name of honour every year in Pakistan which is 20 percent of all such killings worldwide. In the last few days, many cases were reported which proved that it’s a grave issue to deal with. According to the Human Rights Watch Report 2018, violence against women and girls — including rape, honour killings, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage — remains a serious problem in Pakistan. A recent report by the HRCP reveals that in the last three years alone, some 2,900 women have been killed in the name of honour. However, these figures are not credible enough because many murders go unreported On June 30, a girl was shot dead in Jacobabad by her uncle over suspicion of adultery. On Eid day, a girl was murdered over her love marriage in the Naushahro Feroze district of Sindh. On June 21,another girl was gunned down by her brother because she married a man of her own choosing. These cases prove the failure of the law. According to Amnesty International’s report 2017-18, the 2016 law, which brought the penalties for so-called “honour” crimes in line with murder, proved ineffective. The law which provides for the death penalty, allows the judge to decide whether the crime was “honour-based”. In some 2017 cases, the accused successfully claimed that the murder was motivated by another motive and was pardoned by the victim’s family. It means that Qisas and Diyat are still providing sufficient room murderers. Unfortunately, the death penalty was not granted to any of the perpetrator of honour killing because of the inherent loopholes in the concerned law. Another reason of the preservation of this tradition is the informal judicial structure which has deeply embedded roots in Pakistan. It’s a predicament that whenever government shoulders its responsibility to address issues related to women, it receives huge criticism. This backlash detains the government to legislate for issues like violence against women and implement it in its true spirit. It would not be wrong to say that NGOs and human rights activists put up lots of effort to create awareness against traditions like honour killing. Despite the efforts of human rights organisations, this tradition is still being practiced all over Pakistan. Women of Pakistan are aspiring for stronger laws as well as their due share of rights. Before taking further legislative initiatives, we need to implement existing laws strictly. Activists believe that it is difficult to change societal behaviour towards women but not impossible. Civil society should be committed to the cause and vow to carry on efforts to eradicate such anti-women practices. Cultural norms cannot be transformed overnight, it requires an evolutionary process. Discriminatory practices against women should be held back by ensuring equal status and respect to them. Media must bring forth largescale campaigns against patriarchal and gender-biased customary practices. People cannot bear the fruits of these legislative reforms without taking these measures into account. The writer is a PhD scholar from University of the Punjab. She is working as visiting faculty member in various university. She can be reached at Humamalik753@gmail.com Published in Daily Times, July 17th 2018.