Marriage is that sacred institution where man and wife coexist in harmony, exhibiting mutual trust and respect for each other’s rights and treating each other as equal counterparts. However, this is not always the case in Pakistan. Pakistani society is very much a patriarchal one, with husbands often dominating the relationship and taking the law into their own hands if they suspect their wives of unfaithfulness. Two recent incidents highlight this sad truth about the country. In the first incident, in Shikarpur, a husband entered his in-laws’ home and killed his wife. He is now under police custody but we have yet to see him face severe punishment for this barbaric act, including his alleged physical assaults on his deceased wife due to which she initially left him. Likewise, we should see the suspect in the second karo-kari case — this time in Ghotki — caught, investigated and also made an example out of.
Too frequently we read about such tragedies in Pakistani newspapers. The patriarchal, superior mindsets that young men grow up with become very dangerous for the women in their lives later on. In the second incident, a man merely suspected his wife of an affair, stormed into the room while she was doing the laundry and, without giving her a chance to explain or availing proper lines of communication to discuss the problem, shot her point-blank. Obviously, for him, the woman’s life had no value.
Incidents of karo-kari and ‘honour’ killings are on the rise in Karachi, according to an August 1 report in this newspaper. They are no longer restricted to the country’s villages. Law-enforcement agencies need to stop these gross murders across all provinces immediately. The men who commit these murders deserve nothing but to be adequately punished according to the law for their barbaric actions. Likewise, communities that are prone to holding jirgas on such matters need to be severely taken to task. Only law-enforcement agencies and courts have the official right to declare someone innocent or guilty and those taking matters into their own hands must face consequences.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2013.
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