They live in constant fear because if they disobeyed existing norms, they could be pushed into forced marriage, or even murdered.
Honour Crimes in Pakistan; Unveiling Reality and Perception — a report launched by Community Appraisal and motivation Programme (CAMP) on Monday — said that although honour related crimes are an international phenomenon, the practice is widespread in Pakistan.
The report reveals some bitter truths about a conservative society where perpetrators can easily get away due to loopholes in the legal structure.
It is no wonder that in this environment, honour crimes are considered a heroic deed and mostly carried out in a planned manner.
Social, cultural and religious mindsets, beliefs and norms prevalent across the country strengthens their dependency on males and restrict their contribution as a valuable human resources in the overall progress of society,” stated the report.
CAMP Lead Researcher and Advocacy Coordinator Neha Gauhar informed that in Pakistan, 63.88 per cent of people are unaware of human rights, which raises serious concerns regarding the lack of awareness and knowledge.
Meanwhile 8 out of 10 respondents during the survey confirmed that they have knowledge of women’s rights, but at the same time, more than 70 per cent shared their dissatisfaction over the status of women’s right in the county, raising grave concerns over the state of affairs.
Some 90 per cent of respondents believed that a major reason behind honour crimes in the country was lack of education or awareness, while 84 per cent believed poverty was also a factor, she said.
National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz expressed concern over the violation of human rights in the county.
“It is sad to see that people are aware of human rights but not ready to accept or respect them,” she said.
She said in Pakistan, the main issue and challenge is that the lawmakers are actually lawbreakers.
Mumtaz further expressed concern over the victims of honour crimes, with the survivors ending up with physical illnesses, psychological problems, economic deprivation and are usually ignored by their families.
She said it is very unfortunate that close family members who should be protecting the women, kill them in the name of so-called honour.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Director IA Rehman said that in a country like Pakistan , a woman who escaped an honour killing has no place to go, as she cannot take refuge in her hometown, her family completely refuses to accept her, and she is not financially capable of travelling to another city.
He believed that there is a need to explore feudalism, as a majority of honour killings in Sindh occur over land disputes.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2014.