Sometimes, blood relations do not translate to concern for one another’s lives. And, in our beloved country, nothing is more highly prioritised than a family’s ‘honour’. If this means to kill one’s own as a perceived way to maintain a family’s ‘honour’, then so be it. This was certainly the thinking of the father from Dera Ismail Khan who, upon discovering his 15-year-old daughter sitting with her 20-year-old boyfriend at night, strangled her using a rope, having no hesitation during the murder. He also killed the boy, using a pillow to suffocate him. Unfortunately, this is a prime example of a deep-seated thinking that in order to keep family honour intact, it is acceptable to kill a human being, without giving him or her a chance to explain or admit to wrongdoing.
Yes, in our Pakistani culture, we might find a 15-year-old girl sitting in the late hours of the night with a 20-year-old boy to be scandalous. However, this does not, under any circumstances, warrant murder. While the father’s conscience caught up with him as he turned himself to the police, two innocent lives are gone forever — conscience or no conscience. Even though the man, Abdur Rauf Khattak, is behind bars facing murder charges, this idea of killing for the sake of ‘honour’ continues its stranglehold on the minds of certain people in the country. Kin or not, killing for ‘honour’ should be outright condemned.
And, though many people will condemn these murders silently, we need a strong, vocal stance against honour killings. These are the types of issues we should be loudly protesting on the street. Stronger punishment for those who attempt to take the law into their own hands and commit such murders would set an example to others who would consider doing the same in hopes of keeping family ‘honour’. We desperately need to work towards eradicating these primitive and barbaric practices if we are ever to be a progressive land.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2013.
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