Stories about honour killing

Aarushi Talwar: Turning murder into entertainment?

It took India’s top investigative agencies five years to figure out how 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar was murdered in 2008. Then, instead of giving the public all the evidence present, they shaped Aarushi’s killing according to their whim and fancy. Crucial findings were discarded while other evidence was tampered and moulded to tell the world that Aarushi was a victim of honour killing by her incensed parents, who clubbed her to death on seeing her in a compromising position with the male domestic help. On the night of May 15, 2008 Aarushi and her household’s domestic help, Hemraj were violently murdered. ...

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Man dead for falling in love: Parachinar is taking us back to the stone ages

A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post which delved into the rich prospects of the jirga system, its history and advantage to those who don’t have quick and easy access to the legal system in Pakistan. A couple of weeks ago, it made me ponder over my inflexibility towards accepting it as a system of justice – today I hold a strong stance against it. Having practiced in the courts of Pakistan, I understand first-hand the issues that the common man would face in his quest for legal justice; acute delays, unending legal costs and corruption within the ...

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Kohistan jirga: The dirty picture

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words and we all witnessed it when the Swat flogging video was released. Watching an innocent (and unidentified) woman so ruthlessly beaten by a masked Taliban made every Pakistani restless. This is not surprising given that our women are our ghairat (honour) and nobody has the right to mistreat them. News channels kept running the story over and over; cyber citizens gave it more value by posting it on blogs and all social networking websites; liberal and traditional scholars both heavily condemned the incident. Then, one fine morning, we came to know that it was a fake video. Since ...

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The great ghairat debate

In the past week, two articles have appeared in this very newspaper on the subject of ghairat. The first, penned by nuclear physicist and prominent progressive Dr. Parvez Hoodbhoy and the second by a journalist, Miss Maria Waqar. Dr Hoodbhoy is of the view that ghairat (honour) and “fake nationalism” (the one that can be witnessed by our chest-thumping TV anchors and Baloongras on Twitter) was one of the cornerstones of fascist societies like Nazi Germany and that as societies moved from tribalism to modernism and now post-modernism, the notions of “ghairat” are anachronistic and will not do us much ...

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Where is Shahnila Naz?

Soon after my return to Pakistan from Germany, one of the most progressive nations holding on firm to human rights and anti-violence policies, and where I worked extensively on women issues, I was confronted with one good piece of news and one bad. The good news was that a Belgian court had sentenced 20-year-old Sadia Sheikh’s family on charges of killing her for ‘honour’ in 2007. Her brother, who had shot her dead while she had returned to pacify her parents over her decision to marry a Belgian, was sentenced to 15 years. The court also sentenced her father and ...

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Honourably dead

We celebrated a year of violence in Pakistan by offering 675 girls at the altar of honour. Ismat Parveen (whose name means ‘dignity’ and ‘honour’) married a man she wanted to, and because she didn’t want to divorce him, she was shot to death – by her brother. A young woman by the name of Hajil Mai was axed by her husband earlier last month because he accused her of having an affair with the neighbour. He killed her with an axe in the name of honour. With an axe. She is just one victim amongst the many who die in the name ...

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Samina is waiting for a miracle

Samina, my maid’s daughter, is being forced to get engaged to a boy, who she has never seen or spoken to. When she asked her mother about him, she found out that the boy was a 12-year-old child. Frustrated, Samina tried to cut her wrist with a blade, but all in vain – she will be engaged on the coming weekend. I could sense the remorse in her voice, when she told me about this, as she was not prepared to face such a responsibility. Samina’s dreams were to go to school, read the Holy Quran and learn English – all ...

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No friend to women

Throughout the four years of my degree, which qualifies me to be a filmmaker, I found myself making films on social issues such as karo-kari, prostitution and the Afghan repatriation. So when it was time for us to really show off with our thesis films, I was only too eager to get the gigantic ball of human suffering rolling in my head. Apparently, it’s what drives me. So imagine my shock, when, while we’re watching the final outcome of what we proudly called our ultimate ‘master piece’, a fellow female student screens a film on karo-kari. Great so far. I was ...

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‘Honour’ among murderers

I recently came across a picture from Sargodha, which showed a young man sitting on a charpoy with a knife in his hand and blood on his shalwar. He was posing like a hero. His expression was serious. There was no regret on his face or fear, maybe a hint of pride.  The guy had not taken on any terrorists or robbers single handed. No. He had killed his young sister, who had married without the permission of her family a year before. The man had gone to his sister’s house and convinced her to visit their family home so ...

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A regular reality check-up

I can’t recall when I first heard the expression ‘ignorance is bliss’ but it never really sat well with me… until now when I wish I could seek refuge in it. As part of my job, I monitor and edit stories from Southern Punjab on a daily basis. I feel oddly possessive about the district pages or ‘Page 15’ of our Lahore paper because somehow over the past few months they have provided me with my daily dose of much needed ‘reality’. Despite living in Pakistan where one is seldom at a distance from the ‘reality’ of terrorism, corruption and ...

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