Although killings on the grounds of morality and conduct predate Islam, there is a much high prevalence among Muslim societies today. In Pakistan alone, NGOs estimate there are about 1000 honor killings each year. And the majority of honour killings are committed by family members of the victims, in the name of what is viewed as a collective asset and image, honor. In most cases, the victim is female. Passing of an anti-honour killing bill and the recent media outrage regarding provocative social media star, Qandeel Baloch’s death is a topical solution, addressing a symptom rather than the problem, which is far more complex. I am talking about a significant gap in the Pakistani psyche that runs far deeper and is far darker than the legal system can handle, especially in light of the rather fungible accountability mechanisms that exist. It is an ultimate form of ‘slut-shaming’ that in its most extreme form, manifests in an honor killing. On a relative scale, let’s face it; Pakistan is not a female-friendly society, by any stretch of the imagination. For the majority of females, their worth is defined through the eyes of a male or the values of a male-dominated society: marriage-ability, reproduction, beauty, sex, economic value to a male, etc. The female literary rate is 25 percentage points lower than that of men. Women are strong contributors to the economy, especially in the informal sector but men are at the helm of the households. Pakistan has a high rate of pornography usage. If this were actually about modesty and the illicit dangers of lust, many other measures would elevate as important to safeguard women. Those who genuinely believe in doing so in the name of Islam, are fewer than those who view ‘slut-shaming’ as just another control mechanism, in a society that is still struggling to emerge from women being treated as just functional elements or utilitarian possessions. Yes, there are educationally and professionally accomplished women, and status and wealth work in one’s favour, in this regard. However, still, ‘slut-shaming’ is not a thing of the economically disadvantage rather, it is very much a Pakistani phenomenon that runs through the most educated of classes. Value is attributed to chastity, women marrying a suitable mate depend on it, and double lives are often led to protect it. And women especially, use attacks against chastity as their weapon of choice, knocking out their “competitors”, unapproved to-be-daughter-in-laws, or anyone they dislike. The only way to rise above it is to literally be too elite to touch. And rather than see ‘slut-shaming’ as a collective threat to women, you find Pakistani woman upon woman trying to outdo each other by developing their own brand of “liberalness” while still reserving the right to shame, label, and snicker at others, with a holier-than-thou attitude. Alternatively, you find those that are in fact, devout who have supposedly legitimate reasons to opine. Qandeel Baloch approached the ‘slut-shamers’ with the highest form of dismissiveness (not necessarily on purpose). This made her a threat to the control Pakistani male society tries to keep on its women. It is said that she “crossed all boundaries”. But this was frightening less because it is morally reprehensible and more because it may influence others to reshape culture away from the ways many males think “women should be.” Her pervasiveness was also highly uncomfortable and a “cheap” joke for women. Quashing female individuality is more about maleness than it is about Islam. The latter is simply a convenient guise. It just so happens to be that Pakistani women who are unable to themselves break free of social norms, find it hard to stomach others having done so and they cannot let those women be. And until women themselves, break free of their “one-upping” chastity race, there’s no hope for a collective enlightened front against a male-driven view of women. As long as males drive, there will be more cycles of economically disadvantaged women, divorcees looking to make a dime off “internet prostitution”, and the kind of society that cuts females out from asking for help. Where does this leave us? Rather than viewing honour killings as a function of Islam, and letting the world cast Pakistan as among misogynistic societies, Pakistanis have a responsibility toward both Islam and Pakistan to put an end to this detrimental way of thinking about female virtues, or to elevate the role of the female as unique keepers of society, independent of men, valued for their intelligence, drive, and contributions, including “pulling women up” through middle class families. It should not be about how young a woman marries and is passed off, but how empowered a woman is to make intelligent life choices, when the time presents, or a long term play. We need to expand the ambit of our thinking to the link between the presence of patriarchy in Islamic societies today and honor killings. So, Pakistani ladies and gentlemen, the Islamic extremists are only a part of the problem, your own judgments are far more depraved. Samira Khan is a former Fulbright Scholar who worked on the topic of acid violence toward women. She is a contributor to various global publications. She holds a Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.