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    Sunday, 15 April 2018

    Honour killing: Man kills sister, 100-year-old grandmother in Gujranwala

    In another case of honour killing, a brother allegedely tortured and killed his 17-year-old sister and grandmother while injuring another sister in Gujranwala,South Punjab News reported.

    Reportedly the suspect Sufyan, resident of Gujranwala’s Qila Deedar Singh, began hitting his sisters with sticks over a domestic estrangement.  The situation escalated when he shot his sisters and fatally injured his 100-year-old grandmother who tried to intervene,While one sister succumbed to injuries, the other was moved to a hospital where she remains in critical condition. Eyewitnesses told polices that the suspect opened fire after a heated argument with his sisters.
    The suspect managed to flee the scene. The police have registered a dual murder case against the brother and initiated the investigation.A year since new laws came into force aimed at stemming the flow of honour killings, scores of young women are still being murdered by relatives for bringing shame on their family.

    The shocking murder of social media star Qandeel Baloch by her brother last July turned the spotlight on an epidemic of so-called honour killings and sparked a fresh push to close loopholes allowing the killers to walk free. Long-awaited legislation was finally passed three months later in a move cautiously hailed by women’s rights activists.
    But, more than a year on, lawyers and activists say honour killings are still occurring at an alarming pace.
    At least 280 such murders were recorded by the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan from October 2016 to June of 2017 – a figure believed to be underestimated and incomplete.
    “There has been no change,” Benazir Jatoi, a lawyer who works for Aurat Foundation, told AFP.
    “In fact, the Peshawar High Court [PHC] twice acquitted a man of honour crimes after this law was passed,” she added.
    The new legislation mandates life imprisonment for honour killings, but whether a murder can be defined as a crime of honour is left to the judge’s discretion.
    That means the culprits can simply claim another motive and still be pardoned, said Dr Farzana Bari, a social activist and head of the Gender Studies Department at Quaid-e-Azam University [QAU].
    They can do so under Qisas [blood money] and Diyat [retribution] law, which allows them to seek forgiveness from a victim’s relatives – a particularly convenient means of escape in honour cases.
    Bari called for a study on the murders of women over the past year to ascertain the scale of the problem.
    The convoluted courts system also often sees police encouraging parties to enter blood money compromises, circumventing the beleaguered judicial system altogether.
    “Forgiveness and compromise negates justice,” Jatoi said.
    The roots of honour killings lie in tribal social norms which remain prevalent across South Asia and dictate the behaviour of women in particular.
    Women have been shot, stabbed, stoned, set alight and strangled for bringing ‘shame’ on their families for everything from refusing marriage proposals to wedding the ‘wrong’ man and helping friends elope. Men can be victims too, but the violence is overwhelmingly aimed at women
    The double standard is glaring. Generally Pakistanis will accept a man who has committed rape, a senior police official who has overseen honour killing investigations told AFP. But “if a woman is even suspected of an affair it is considered a shame for the family and not forgiven,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous as he was not authorised to speak to media, told AFP.
    “People even sympathise [with] and praise the men who murder their women for so-called honour,” he said.
    Rights activists have called for change for years, and the young, urbanised population often take to social media for campaigns such as last year’s #NoMoreKillingGirls.
    But Jatoi said Pakistan as a society has been unable to move past the meaning of honour.
    “Only when we widely condemn the act will we stop seeing proud murderers… telling of how they killed a woman because she breached an outdated, arbitrary, and patriarchal honour code of which no one knows the rules.”
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