According to Webster dictionary, honour means respect or great esteem. However, in Pakistan, it is the equivalent of ‘ghairat’. It is something that the women are burdened with protecting all their lives. If they fail to do so, they are shunned and ostracised by society.The vast majority of the men of Pakistan are patriarchal in nature. This idea that men are protectors of the realm is perpetrated by the media. From an early age, mass media consumption by individuals, leads them to see women as objects. This objectification allows women to be treated as property rather than human beings. A power hierarchy is made with men on the top. Furthermore, when women are not given basic rights and are denied social autonomy, their existence becomes dependant on the males of their family. This turns into a vicious cycle, which traps them into obeying the dictates of men. They are forced to conform and are further deprived of opportunities to be independent entities.This can also be viewed as a fight for power, a fight between the two sexes, the privileged and the underprivileged. The capitalist structure of our society favours man, he is put on the top whilst women are marginalised and have to fight to earn the same opportunities. Anyone who dares to go against the well oiled machine called patriarchy is treated as an outcast. One threat to this perfect world order was Qandeel Baloch who did as she pleased, and in turn was killed by her brother in the name of ‘honour’. These acts speak volumes about a man’s fragile ego, his need to prove his masculinity and dominance stems from his own weakness of character. The irony of this reality is hard to digest.If control over women equals the ‘ghairat’ of men, then after ridding themselves of women their ‘ghairat’ is no more. Other threats to the ‘natural world order’ are women who raise their voices when they are oppressed, women who are a capable individuals able to survive on their own. Women with their own agency and a vision of how to live their lives. These types of women are labelled as a menace to society, just because they refuse to bow down to its dictates. They are treated as outcasts and socially isolated. We as a nation have to strive to change this conservative mindset otherwise we will not be able to develop as a nation. Most upsetting part about the statistics of honour killings in Pakistan is that they cannot be accurately recorded because most of them are labelled as suicides or illnesses, anything other than the actual cold blooded acts of murder. Furthermore, the culprits never get caught or are lauded for their heinous crimes and pardoned by relativesPakistan has the highest number of documented honour killings per capita, despite legal reforms. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), recorded at least 280 such murders from October 2016 to June 2017, — a figure believed to be underestimated and incomplete. Furthermore a survey carried out by Sindh Journalists Network for Children (SJN), for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) during the year 2001, shows that 44 percent of the women killed were between the ages of 15-20 years, whereas six percent were above the age of forty.Almost 50 percent of all honour killings were carried out by husbands, number of sisters killed by their brothers was 19 percent, while almost 50 percent of all honour killings were carried out by husbands, 19 percent were killed by their brothers, while 6 percent of the victims were killed by their sons, and four percent murdered by their fathers, uncles etc.The most upsetting part about the statistics of honour killings in Pakistan is that they cannot be accurately recorded because most of them are labelled as suicides or illnesses, anything other than the actual cold blooded acts of murder. Furthermore, the culprits never get caught or are lauded for their heinous crimes and pardoned by relatives. Our society is plagued with the idea of curbing and checking women to prevent them from breaking out of these social bonds. This mentality reeks of illiteracy and misogyny and can only be eradicated when women start recognising the vicious cycle they are trapped in. Immediate action needs to be taken.We as a nation need to collectively work towards empowering women if we want to prosper. Equal opportunities should be provided. The most important step to eradicate this sort of regressive mindset is to educate the masses from the start. Values such as honour and respect which are incumbent upon a woman can only be forgotten, if we all make a concerted effort to ensure that the coming generation understands that women are equal to men in all spheres of life.In my opinion, we can work towards an egalitarian society by working together. Women such as Asma Jahangir are the beacons of hope. They highlight how capable women are and how they are forces to be reckoned with. Also women like Maria Umar from KP, who have broken stereotypes and changed the lives of countless women by providing them with a platform to work online, have proved that women have conquered all social spheres.Therefore, we as a society need to check ourselves. Solving a problem does not mean sweeping it under the rug and acting as if everything is okay. It means coming to terms with the reality, no matter how painful it is, and taking an initiative to make a change. Thus, we together need to work to rid our society from the ills of patriarchy. We need to empower women and especially focus on educating the masses, so that the yoke of oppression is broken.I do believe that we need to alter our basic definitions and then look at the reality from a new perspective. As it is famously said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If want change, we need to change ourselves.The writer worked at Daily Times and is a freelance contributorPublished in Daily Times, September 6th 2018.