KARACHI: “My husband has falsely accused me of karo-kari because he wanted a son and I bore him two daughters,” said 32-year-old Shabana.
Clad in a black burqa, Shabana narrated her ordeal at the Madadgaar NationaL Helpline office on Wednesday, when she addressed a press conference. Only because she could not give birth to a son, she was declared ‘kari’ by her husband, she claimed.
In Karachi’s Bin Qasim town, Shabana’s husband, Nawaz, accused her of having an affair with her nephew and threatened to kill them both. He sat down with the elders of the family to discuss the matter and announced his verdict.
Sitting at the Madadgaar National Helpline office, Shabana is currently hiding from her husband. “I keep hearing stories back home of my relatives becoming kari but never imagined that I would myself be labeled as one,” she admitted.
She alleged that her husband has taken away her daughters, even though her youngest is only 40 days old. “I fear my children will die,” she said. “I don’t know what he will do to my children, and maybe he would call them haram [illegitimate].”
Shabana believed that she could have escaped the evil ritual of honour killing, which was rampant in her hometown in rural Sindh, but she was mistaken.
Zia Awan, from Madadgaar, warned that honour-killing cases were rising in Karachi, with seven cases reported in recent months. “Karo-kari is increasing in the city, it is no longer restricted to villages only,” he added.
He blamed the law enforcement agencies for these incidents. “There is no implementation of laws pertaining to honour killing,” he pointed out.
Awan further requested the chief justice to take notice of all the FIRs registered against jirgas, adding that the police should arrest those involved in holding jirgas and letting the criminals lose.
Meanwhile, Shabana’s nephew, Faheem, who is also on the run said that he has stopped going to work as he was being followed by criminals.
“For how long will I be running from pillar to post, I want protection,” the alleged ‘karo’ pleaded.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2013.