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Pakistan: There's no honour in killing
  • ?Pakistan: There's no honour in killing
    ?Pakistan: There's no honour in killing
All we know about her is that she was 18 years old, and that she had posted a photo on social media in which she appeared in the company of a friend and a boy. According to police reports in Kolai-Palas (in Khyber-Pakhtunkwa, a Pakistani province bordering Afghanistan), the local council of elders, the jirga, had decreed that the two 'shameless women' be killed. One died, murdered by her family; the second was put under police protection. Almost certainly, the perpetrators will be arrested and promptly released. In 2016, the case of Qadeel Baloch, who was murdered by her brother for disgracing the family by appearing discreet on social media, had caused a stir. After the crime, her parents pleaded with judges to pardon her executioner: in accordance with the law, which allowed the murderer to serve no sentence by paying the victim's family the so-called 'blood price.' The law was amended after Qadeel's death, but the good guy was still acquitted. Because the truth is that in Pakistan only a fraction of the perpetrators of these crimes are arrested, and most of them receive purely symbolic sentences. An Amnesty International report noted "the failure of the authorities to prevent these killings by investigating and punishing the perpetrators." According to reports, about three women are killed every day for reasons related to family honor, and more than 1,000 women a year die in crimes disguised as 'domestic incidents. Every two hours, a woman is kidnapped, abused or raped. Every eight hours, someone is a victim of gang rape. More than ninety percent of the female population is a victim of some form of violence by family members. Female behavior regarded as dishonorable includes extramarital affairs, choosing a husband against the wishes of parents, filing for divorce. Or, even, being a victim of rape. Rape, which in 2007 was finally considered by Parliament to be a penal code crime and not an offense against morality punishable, therefore, under the infamous Hodood, Islamic law. According to the Hodood, the proof of rape is on the woman who suffers it. The lady must be able to produce, to prove that she was raped, four Muslim and male witnesses. Otherwise, she is tried ex officio for adultery-a crime for which the law itself prescribes stoning. According to Hudood himself, in general, a woman's testimony is worth half that of a man's, and adultery, or premarital sex, is considered a crime against the state and punished accordingly. According to the pious cronies of Islamic parties, moreover, there is no such thing as domestic violence. Attributing to a woman the right to sue her husband or file for divorce in cases of domestic violence undermines the very foundations of the sound principles on which Pakistani society is based. And thus, the 'new law' remains more or less a de facto dead letter. Those who go to report even serious domestic violence are sent home: because beatings, if they do not go as far as torture, constitute, according to the dominant culture, an integral part of normal couple dialectics. And these are not isolated cases or confined to disadvantaged sectors of society. Former PM Imran Khan has argued more than once that "men are not robots." And that the exponential increase in (unpunished) rape cases in the country can therefore be attributed to the 'obscene values' propagated by the West. He added that if women strictly observed Islamic rules of dress and conduct, namely total segregation, there would be no rapes. All the Pakistani girls who have been raped, especially those not yet in their teens, give thanks. But Imran-thinking unfortunately reflects the opinion of most Pakistanis, whether they openly confess it or not. This is well known by those relatively few brave women in Pakistan who march every March 8 to the cry of "Mera Jism, Meri Marzi' (My body, my choice). Those who, for the freedom to choose, risk their lives every day. To remind everyone that there is no honor in crimes, and that murder is not culture.