My sister was a victim of honour killing and I demand justice!

Published: June 15, 2015

Tahira Khoso is a victim who lost her life to the cold blooded tradition of honour killing. PHOTO: KHALID MEHMOOD KHOSO

Feudal lords have ruled over Sindh and Balochistan for centuries now. These land-owning stalwarts proudly protect their out-dated customs and traditions, without any resistance. Why? Because no one has the power or the will to stand up against them; and this has cost us many innocent lives.

Recently, the case of Tahira Khoso made it to the news; she was shot in the head, in the presence of her father, brother and uncle in Jacobabad, as part of an honour killing ritual. Her husband, Waqar Umrani, shot her in cold blood after some domestic dispute took place between the couple. Umrani left the scene with his accomplices without any confrontation.

Tahira was taken to a hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.

Tahira Khoso was my sister and I demand justice for her murder.

This incident took place in the 21st century, in the year 2015, in a country that boasts of being a nuclear power, a developing economy and a democratic state. But none of these things mattered when my sister was shot dead. Because the people who shot her were not from this century; at least, their mind-sets were not. And the ease with which Umrani was able to end Tahira’s life only shows the monsters this archaic system is breeding in its midst.

Unfortunately, honour killing is still a part of most legal systems in our rural areas. There has never been an earnest attempt to abolish this practice, because most of our parliamentarians come from feudal backgrounds and, as such, they would rather protect their backward traditions than do what they are supposed to do – to help their people and give them basic human rights.

Under feudal rule, if a woman is charged with a crime, it’s immensely difficult for her to prove her innocence because she is seen as a secondary citizen and therefore, a man’s testimony is given more weightage. On top of that, she has no right to defence in the court of a Sardar.

In the span of 86 days after the killing, no arrest has been made so far, which reveals how ineffective the local police are when it comes to protecting the lives, property and honour of the common man. The SSP of Jacobabad has been useless in this entire investigation. Various reasons are behind his lacking, one of which is the enormous pressure he is being kept under from the political elite – particularly from an office bearer and provincial head of a political party.

So far, just one police raid has been reported, and that too has been of no avail. Above all, a few Jacobabad police officials were arrested by the Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan for using a non-custom paid vehicle. This incident highlights the carelessness and unprofessional attitude of the local police. Despite this, the honourable chief justice of Pakistan issued a notice concerning the incident in front of the press on April 29th, 2015.

It came off as surprising that even a notice from such an established individual of the country couldn’t push the Sindh police to fulfil their obligatory duty. If this couldn’t, what can?

If, even in 86 days, the Sindh police have not been able to coordinate with the concerned law enforcement agencies based in Balochistan, then it puts a major question mark on their competence. The police force is the frontline law enforcement institution, which is legally and morally bound to protect the citizens of the nation, according to Article 25 of the constitution of Pakistan and yet, it fails to fulfil its basic duties. Why has the SSP not been suspended as yet? Why is everyone in a state of deliberate numbness? Perhaps the SSP is assured by the ruling elite of Jacobabad that the matter will be resolved and will be nipped in the bud by the local jirga.

Not even a single member of parliament has discussed this critical matter in their concerned assemblies, which sheds light on their misplaced priorities. These local members are often Sardars, Waderas and Mirs of their tribe. During elections, they tend to camouflage themselves in front of the media and voters, showing opposition against heinous acts such as honour killing. However, in reality, they have double standards and are protectors and beneficiaries of such ancient customs.

I cannot even begin to explain the difficulties my family has been facing ever since we lodged the FIR against her death. Death threats, profanities and the murderer’s glorification on social media are all being used to bully us and coerce my father to settle the matter in a Sardar’s court.

This will result in the murderer enjoying immunity for being a man who holds the license to murder women in the name of honour.

Almost every system of the world has gone through a slow but steady evolutionary process, where it has been continuously refined with the passage of time. But in Pakistan, this does not seem to be the case. Here, the proceedings are not only irrational, but against the teachings of the Holy Quran and its spirit of Ijtehad (independent reasoning).

Our society must play its role rather than just stick to reading the news and forgetting it once the day ends. The educated civil society and members of NGOs must come forward to work alongside their countrymen from other remote areas of Pakistan in order to give them a moral push to fight against social odds such as honour killings.

It is time that every law-abiding citizen, from all ethnic backgrounds voices their opinion. We have a right to believe in a Pakistan of equal rights.

Khalid Mehmood Khoso

Khalid Mehmood Khoso

The author is a business graduate and an ex-banker. He is a human rights activist as well as an active member of the Justice for Tahira Khoso Campaign. He tweets as @khalid_khoso

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Adnan Qamar

    I am really sorry to hear what happened to your sister. Honestly, if there is anything I can do, please let me know. I am an ordinary person but if there is any help I can provide, I would really feel satisfied!Recommend

  • MrRollsRoyce

    Khalid, I feel immense sorrow for your family and a lot of anger at the culprit. The culprit is not just the man who pulled the trigger of the gun but our social customs and belief system. Alas things will not improve until we reject the tribal way of thinking, a lot of which has been imported from lands to the west of our borders across the Indian Ocean.Recommend

  • M Waqas Sajid

    Justice is only for those who can buy it by the use of power.Recommend

  • Feroz

    A murder is a crime irrespective of motive, honor or dishonor. That no arrests have been made 86 days after the murder reflects fairly the state of law and order and rule of law. I hope the authors battle to bring the murderers to book succeeds. Request those in a position to help to be forthcoming in their efforts. Justice should prevail.Recommend

  • Ayesha

    Im so sorry to read this … may God give your family peace of mine and speedy justice AmeenRecommend

  • imran ghori

    Tears in my eyes,,, but justice system in Pakistan is like a finding a pearl in occeon,, judges, supreme Court,high courts, carroupt powerless system,, but Allah is always with victims not now but sooner u will see justice of Allah almighty Recommend

  • trtk

    Why did you marry your sister to him in the first place?Recommend

  • Najeeb Bhutto

    Dear khalid iam very sorry to listen the pain full news of your sister,may Allah give you strength to bear such a loss in such tragic way .my any assistance if u need in this regard plz feel free .Iam with you and insha allah soon whole country will be with you Ameen.Recommend

  • maria

    Feel sorry for ur loss. Honor killing is a terrible crime, I have heard about such incidents so many time but no one has ever done anything to stop them.i wish we can end this and make sure that these people pay for their horrible crime just based on their backward thinking Recommend

  • Norozkhan

    I wonder what was the fault of new bride Tahira Khoso, may be her husband Waqar Umerani suspected her of having love affair before she got married to him.Recommend

  • Muhammad Yousif Channa

    i condemn the brutality that has been continuing since the period of feudal ruler. actually in the country side it has been remained the trade. the name wader which means wrong doer, not in the favor of people they never want to see the people well furnished he want to see the people under the control.. I should raise the voice up to supreme court to against the honor killing of Tahira Khoso………Recommend

  • Intellectual.Pseudo

    Why did you marry your sister to this monster? Why did you send her in this hell hole. I am sorry I am not trying to blame you but just understand that being educated and living in urban area why did you and your father allow her to end up in this miserable state? That man Umrani looks like a beast to me.Recommend

  • Najibullah Talpur

    Khalid I really feel sorry to know about your loss. May Allah paak give you strenght to bear the loss. May you get speedy justice. we are with You Bha.Recommend

  • Syeda Naim

    U r so cruel his brother clarrified that there was some domestic issue n who the hell r u to raise the point over her character khuda k liyay Allah k azab say darou n his hubby wasnt given right to kill her on suspicion … i pity ur sick thoufhtsRecommend

  • Syeda Naim

    Pathetic sick brutal barbarians ….r these fuedals….after reading Tahira’s story i just wanna kill that animal who killed the innocent soul …. Recommend

  • Adnan

    Throw your loved one before the wild beast against her will and then expect that he will not tear her up is the biggest crime of all. What were your expectations from Umrani when you people gave him Tahira’s hand? The society you are living in advocates such kind of atrocities against women and it is considered as a norm. Either one way or other you are also part of the system based on savagery.
    This is not just about one Tahira this is about all women living in a feudal set up where women are nothing more than chattels and family members sell them off to other feudal. If you truly want justice for Tahira then fight for all women of your society. But still I hope if you remain steadfast then one day her killer be face the iron hand of justice.Recommend

  • tsds erbil

    First of all please accept my personal sincere condolences on the assasination of your Deceased Honorable Sister . Her assasin is a rogue and a scoundrel of the worst order.Unfortunately in this God Damned Country these sub-Human Beasts are ruling the roost.Such animals and their supporters need to be put down ruthlessly and mercilessly.A time will come Inshallah , when this class and its entire family and support system will be eleminated . Perhaps a Stalin or Lenin will rise one day soon.Recommend

  • imran Khoso

    Heart-Rending story of Tahira khoso. Keep it up dear brother you will get success in this case.. and then Tahira’s soul will surely get relief…Recommend

  • Brar

    I am sorry to hear the tragic end of your beloved sister, and the root cause of this is Zamindari or Zagirdari had your Government abolished the same the scenerio would have been different, the same was done immediately after partition in India and even if this practice is still alive is shamefull, the civll society should demand abolition of zamindsri and zagirdari immediately.Recommend

  • JayMankind

    Brother, I hope and pray that you get justice. What a tragedy! Hope the animals pay for it. The only courts that can take up these cases are military courts. Why don’t they help out?Recommend

  • Jamor

    She was killed in the presence of her father and brother,and they both did nothing to stop it.AstoundingRecommend

  • Mohsin Laghari

    I feel sad on the demise of your sister.It’s most unfortunate incident.

    Allah will definitely punish the culprits InshaAllah.Recommend

  • Mohsin Laghari

    I feel sad on the demise of your sister.It’s most unfortunate incident.

    Allah will definitely punish the culprits InshaAllah.Recommend

  • seismann

    It is pathetic to read some comments blaming the victim’s family for marrying her to this person,as if they knew that this was going to happen.Nobody will knowingly marry their sister/daughter to persons with criminal tendencies.Recommend

  • Sid

    @Khalid. My sympathies dear. Hope your sister gets justice and hope things improve for many such potential victims. Till then, may you and your family find peace.Recommend

  • imdadali

    very sad, ordeal of khalid mehmood is eye opener for our ruler. killer to be brought under book. but state institute police seems silent spectator as such serious issues. police is politicized in every pity issue. killing of innocent women on pretext of honour killing is condemnable.Recommend

  • Robert2011GB

    What the heck did your family think it was doing marrying their daughter to such a man?

    It wasn’t a love marriage.

    It was a traditional Muslim arranged marriage.

    It s your family’s fault for arranging it.Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQ

    So sad to hear this. In Pakistan the feudals and the establishment do whatever they can. You should not expect any justice from any institution of Pakistan. However, you should pray to Allah and ask HIM to guide you to solve this problem. May Allah help you.Recommend

  • Sane

    Where is the justice. Who will nab the murderer and his accomplice. Would the murderer shall be hanged like other killers who were not effluent in class. Wake up people of Pakistan against this tyranny. The muderer must be booked for trial in an Anti Terrorist Court.

    Would somebody shall enlighten about the murderer of Shazaib and Hamza. Why murderers are not hanged yet?Recommend

  • Intellectual.Pseudo

    I also want to mention that I condemn this act as it is heart wrenching and deeply saddening. These dogs should be publically hanged. Just look at the photo he looks like a drunk beast that is not in his senses. My condolenses with your family and specially with you and your father. I can not imagine what you guys go though every day after seeing her die infront of your eyes and not getting justice since the last 3 months.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmed

    Sister, it’s very easy in our society to blame a unknown girl character just for fun.. Recommend

  • Sane

    People are waiting to see the murderer is jail. Must be tried under ATC act.Recommend

  • AA

    That is rubbish you just threw on her character. Not even respecting the deceased. My question is, who gave one person the right to kill another for rejection. Its jealousy, if not me than no one else, that is my friend from “dark ages.” In a civilized world if a partner find another person better than her husband or wife and asks for divorce does not deserve to die. Killing a person is only justified on the grounds of preventing a threat to another person’s life, other than that, no constitution on earth, and no religion from God has given this right to anyone. Divorce is an acceptable way of parting if one of the partners is unsatisfied of the relation. Islam allows it too.Recommend

  • Ammar

    I feel sad for you. I pray tht the victim may get the justice.
    honour killing is just a drama to kill any innocent person.

    Your article is also highlighting the justice system of Pakistan. Being a wadera I want to share a point tht it doesnt make you above law if u r a wadera/sardar. You only become powerful only the basis of rich you are. We see some cruel incidents in the city aswell. The fault is in the system which helps the rich people.

    Please we should not mix feudalism with waderas. The business-men ,politicians rich people have feudal mindset in them. it should not be asserted with a particular community . Even a middle class persom living in Pakistan breaks lawRecommend

  • tanveer

    Very right brother. Before handing over the loving sister or daughter to anyone, make sure the gentleman is honour, pios, rich family tradition, educated, sincere and last. Think 100 times that you handed over you most precious thing. Weather other side deserve or not?
    Recommend

  • NN

    I think to blame victim family is hard rather I believe things are destined. Why bibi Asia was married to Faroun.There are thousands of instances in the history.This is very hard time therefore I fully endorse the step of family who regardless of many tangible and intangible hurdles came at front and ARE fighting despite of many so called cultural cults and taboos.Well done!Recommend

  • Mimi

    Has anyone looked at the photo of the bride and the groom closely?
    She is a pretty young girl, her eyes look like they have been crying tears of horror on her union with the guy on her right? Is that the groom, pray tell me NOT,but then he has an IMAM ZAMIN on his right arm, he has to be the groom. He has a slight smirk on his face…..obviously he is getting ready to devour her young body…..and the same brother sits there smiling at the UNION….OF course her family is to be blamed…..what was the same brother doing when the union was taking place, he was sitting pretty too (unless this was a love marriage, which I doubt). Exactly what ROBERT said it was a damn 15th century arranged marriage, what was her family thinking….the groom must have had a jolly good time with the young girl and then killed her in cold blood….and the family handed the girl over to him on a golden platter to do just that…….you but a rabbit in wild bear’s den…what were you EXPECTING SIR…..pray tell me that story? What were your dad, brother and uncle doing when she was shot….tell me that story…..TELL ME TELL ME…write a part 2, telling us your family’s part in going along with the union?????Recommend

  • Amer Nadeem Adv

    Really sad & highly condemnable, file petition in High Court or in Supreme Court; though a notice from SC is issued but usually its from addition registrar HR wing, just a explanatory or seeking report like nature little to workRecommend

  • Amer Nadeem Adv

    Really sad & highly condemnable, file petition in High Court or in
    Supreme Court; though a notice from SC is issued but usually its from
    additional registrar HR wing, just a explanatory or seeking report like
    nature little to workRecommend

  • Sabeet Raza

    I’d like to sit and console the author but unfortunately, it would be all but utilization of time we have. Brutality prevails in our land not only because of traditions that date decades back but because solely of our reluctance to promote human singularity. Women are still the house workers and men still get to act as the decision makers which goes to show that despite the need of the time, we still live in a patriarchal society where men have value times four of a woman. Evidence of this fact is the 4 Witness Rape Law or the permission of Polygamy law. All of this is to say that we need to bring change in the way women are viewed in our society and the idea of patriarchy need not be indoctrinated into our offspring and coming generations!Recommend

  • AlexJha

    What a pretty girl!! Its such a shame that she was killed.
    These things will gradually stop with a little bit of atheism and the repealing of qisas and diyat ordinance in Pakistan along with separating religion from state. Unfortunately Pakistan was created with religion so I fear, this will never happen.Recommend