According to a credible survey, 53 women and 39 men have lost their life in honour killing in the past six months of this year in Sindh. The figure of murders on this count goes into few hundred every year. It seems to be considerably low this year. Even then, it is shameful for a society that claims to be the inheritor ofan old civilization of over 5000 years which had once flourished on the banks of River Indus. The archaeological remains of Moen-jo-Daro bear eloquent testimony to the modern way of living boasting of civic amenities including paved streets, public and private bath rooms and sewage system, art and culture, recreation and entertainment. Over a millennium, Sindh has remained an agrarian society with the lopsided and unjust system of ownership of lands with all the negative characteristics of landlordism, tribalism, tribal traditions and practices and mindset. This has impeded its evolution into an industrialized society with the growth of middle class. The social structure of Sindh has not undergone any strident change over the past many centuries. The industrialization has been non-existent and the growth of middle class very sluggish. The society has remained virtually divided into two classes with the landlords and tribal chiefs on the summit and the poor and underprivileged at the bottom of the social pyramid. The successive foreign and local rulers kept this system intact – rather patronized it for apparent political reasons. It was easy for them to keep in good humour a few hundred landlords and control the common populace through them. Before the advent of British imperialists in 1843, two dynasties of Sindh – Kalhoras and Talpurs – ruled Sindh for considerably long and uninterrupted years. They further strengthened the system of landlordism by doling out large tracts of land and Shikargahs to landlords and tribal chiefs. The British rule also did not tamper with the existing system – rather generously patronized those who provided nominal help to them in mobilizing forces to Balochistan to fortify the security of their empire from the likely invasion by the Muscovites – as called by the British Prime Minister Disraeli – through Bolan Pass in the Great Game. The British also chose to deal with a few hundred landlords, tribal chiefs and Sardars instead of empowering the common man. They did not establish a single educational institution in Sindh ala Aitcheson, Gordon and King Edward Colleges in Punjab. Before the advent of Pakistan, the dead bodies of those murdered in honour killing in the adjoining districts of Sindh used to be dumped in Balochistan to avoid the relatively harsher punishment of seven years under British laws They tolerated tribal traditions and customs including the honour killing by prescribing relatively soft punishments for it. The neighbouring Khanate of Kalat had a maximum punishment of three years for honour killing. Before the advent of Pakistan, the dead bodies of those murdered in honour killing in the adjoining districts of Sindh used to be dumped in Balochistan to avoid the relatively harsher punishment of seven years under British laws. Then the prospects of settling the matter through conciliatory intervention of the tribal chiefs and sardars were more promising. This centuries-old ‘conciliatory intervention’ or Jirga has continued unabated to this day. The police encourage and tacitly support the Jirga system rather than curbing it. The advent of the new country did not bring about the slightest change in this dreaded tribal society. The Pakistan Muslim League was dominated by landlords, tribal chiefs, Sardars, Pirs and Sajadahnashins in this part of Pakistan. This was particularly so in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab. The Bhuttos, Khuhros, Soomros, Chandios, Panhwars, Mahers, Bijranis, Jatois, Syeds and Shahs of Sindh, Tiwanas, Daulatanas, Chathas, Noons, Gurmanis, Dashtis, Chaudhries of Punjab, Khans of NWFP and Sardars of Balochistan dominating the provincial and national legislative assemblies and the political power could not be expected to change the social and economic structure to which they owed their political rise. The middle class was deliberately kept out of the political realms. The honour killing ruins many families. It triggers revengeful enmity lasting many generations. The tribal chiefs, in their conciliatory interventions, impose crippling fines on the parties and minor and adult girls are given to a perceived aggrieved party in retributive justice or Wani. While doing this, they do not glance into the broken and wretched heart of their mothers and cast a look at the swollen eyes of their fathers. They don’t see the deep scars of indignity, disgrace, misery and deprivation slapped on the soul of these families. What a wild and dehumanized society we have created where the powerful has all rights to live a good life and the weak is condemned to degradation, social asphyxia, suffering and sufferance. This is an outrage perpetrated by the stronger upon the feebler, a crime by the society against its individuals, committed afresh every day. Such a callous society breeds bitterness, hatred, rashness and wildness among the segments of population at the bottom of the societal structure – bitterness against their fellow citizens, the society, the rulers, the laws and the institutions which enforce the state authority. They seek vengeance on all those who have thrown them in the dreary depths of impoverishment and misery. We have entered the enlightened 21st century and we wear on our brow the shame and stigma of having over 24 million children out of school – the highest number after Nigeria. We have failed our young generation. As put it by Victor Hugo, ‘the erring child is the corollary of an ignorant child. A child left to fend for himself is abandoned to fatal immersion to public vices that devour in him the last ounce of honesty and conscience’. Then, the girls in our decayed and diseased tribal society live a life in fear and suppression. They have no education, no choice in the selection of their life partners. They are traded away like animals. The only way of getting rid of this decadent feudal mindset is to illuminate the society from the bottom that would force the blood sucking tribal bats to retreat to their dark caverns as they would not face the light of the dawn of education. The writer was a member of the Foreign Service of Pakistan and he has authored two books.