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Jahalat: There is No Honor in Murder; Criminality is not Culture

Posted on August 30, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Owais Mughal, Culture & Heritage, Law & Justice, Women
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Adil Najam and Owais Mughal
Let us be as clear and unambiguous as we can. Those who think they can “restore” their honor by murdering others have no honor to begin with. There is no honor in murder. Ghairat cannot be gained or regained by butchering the weak. Indeed, murder is beghairati personified.

And let us never – never – let anyone confuse criminality with culture.

Yet, two members of the Pakistan Senate insist on doing exactly that. In defending (or seeming to defend) the most barbaric of so-called “honor killings” (in this case the burying alive of three young girls) Senators Israrullah Zehri and Jan Mohammad Jamali have not only shamed the Senate and all of Pakistan, they are in fact abusing and shaming the culture and traditions of all Baloch. They are conflating criminality with culture.



No, Senators, murder and criminality is NOT a part of “tribal tradition.” Clearly murder and criminality is not part of any religious tradition. It is certainly no part of Islam. There have been criminals and murders in all cultures and in all religions in all times. But criminality and murder is not part of any culture, any tradition, any religion. Even if some murderous actions have gone unpunished in the past, they do not define tradition, they define criminality. Those who confuse the criminal behavior of the murderous few with the essence of any culture (their own or someone else’s), abuse that culture and tradition itself. Not every tradition needs to be defended, and many need to be abandoned.

Let us never let anyone defend criminality and murder in the name of tradition and culture. Indeed, instead of defending criminality and murder in the name of culture and tradition, we should be defending culture and tradition from criminality and murder committed in its name.

For those few who may not know what we are talking about, here are the essentials from a news report in Dawn:

Balochistan Senator Sardar Israrullah Zehri stunned the upper house on Friday when he defended the recent incident of burying alive three teenage girls and two women in his province, saying it was part of ‘our tribal custom.’ Senator Bibi Yasmin Shah of the PML-Q raised the issue citing a newspaper report that the girls, three of them aged between 16 and 18 years, had been buried alive a month ago for wishing to marry of their own will.

The barbaric incident took place in a remote village of Jafarabad district and a PPP minister and some other influential people were reported to have been involved. The report accused the provincial government of trying to hush up the issue. Ms Shah said that the hapless girls and the women were first shot in the name of honour and then buried while they were alive. She also said that no criminal had been arrested so far.

Acting Chairman of Senate Jan Mohammad Jamali, who was presiding over the session, said: “Yasmin Shah should go to our society and see for herself what the situation is like there and then come back to raise such questions in the house.” Maulana Ghafoor Haideri of the JUI-F said there was no tradition of burying women alive in Baloch society because it was against Islam’s teachings. Jamal Leghari of PML-Q emphatically stated that there was no custom of burying people alive, adding that the Baloch people did not believe in it.

Senator Jan Jamali commented: “This is a provincial matter and it is being investigated at the provincial level and let us wait for the report of the investigation.” Leader of the Opposition Kamil Ali Agha accused the Balochistan government of ignoring the incident and said no jirga could order the burying of women alive and no law allowed anyone to commit such a crime and go unpunished. He urged the government to punish the people involved in it. Leader of the House Mian Raza Rabbani said: “We condemn the heinous act and assure the house that a complete report on the incident would be submitted on Monday.”

One can be shocked and angry and aghast at what one has been hearing. But one cannot remain quiet. To merely speak out may not help in itself, but to remain silent is to condone that which is horrible and inhuman with our silence. Even if speaking out does nothing except provide us with catharsis, silence emboldens the criminals and murderers who commit their heinous barbarism in the name of culture; and in doing so kill not only the innocent and the weak but the very culture and traditions that they speak of.

So, speak we must. But as we speak, let us also remain focused on what it is that shocks us and makes us angry and aghast. Yes, it is the words of these Senators – people who should know better – that cannot be reconciled. But, even more than that it is the act of barbarism that triggered the controversy in the first place. One does not want these two Senators to get away with what they have said, but even more than that those who have committed the henious act of burying three young girls alive must not get away with it.

One fears that the outrage has been not only triggered by but is focused on these two Senators and only on their words. Yes, indeed, what the Senators have tried to defend is indefensible and their words must be condemned in the strongest. But, and for exactly that reason, let us never forget that this story is not only about what the Senators have said, it is about the vile an venomous act of murder and criminality that triggered those words in the first place. Ultimately, even more than being about the words of two Senators this has to be about the actions of the murderers who killed and the lives of the women who are no longer alive because of those actions. It is important, but not enough, to have the Senators take their words back. It is far far more important to make sure that what happened to these three young girls must never happen to anyone, anywhere, ever again.

It was jahalat that killed them. But let neither the words of these two Senators nor the silence of the rest of us condone that jahalat.

80 Comments on “Jahalat: There is No Honor in Murder; Criminality is not Culture”

  1. Ghazal says:
    August 31st, 2008 12:08 am

    you are right that this is murder and not culture. Like you we must all speak out in the strongest words.

    We hear reports of honor killings from all provinces and also from India and Afghanistan and Uk and Africa. All of this is plain murder and there is mo defence for it. It brings shame to everyone in all these cultures and to all of us as humans.

  2. Manzoor says:
    August 31st, 2008 1:10 am

    Their memberships should be canceled for defending an inhuman and barbaric rite on the floor of a law making body. They are even worse than the Taliban.

  3. Riaz Haq says:
    August 31st, 2008 1:14 am

    Honor killings are a particularly huge concern in Pakistan where the “democratic, civilian” governments are dominated by feudal and tribal leaders who accept honor killings as routine and legitimate. Having been raised in a system of arbitrary rule, these leaders in power do not have any understanding of fundamental human rights or the concepts of rule-of-law or of due process. Fighting this terrible tradition of unjust killings will require a much bigger campaign than the one that toppled President Musharraf. Such a campaign will have to challenge not just an individual dictator, but defeat the power of feudal-tribal system and end social customs that continue to deny basic human dignity, political and economic justice, and genuine liberty to the vast majority of rural and urban Pakistanis.

  4. wasiq says:
    August 31st, 2008 2:12 am

    The Pakistani conception of ‘honor’ needs to be re-examined and revised because it is really at the center of many of our social problems. Honor as a personal quality, in Pakistan, is a reserved for privileged members of society. Women, the poor, and the powerless are, by definition, without honor. Remaining honorable is simply a matter of reasserting one’s primacy in the social pecking order — by hook or crook in most cases. I have seen those who claim to be ‘honorable’ commit fraud, behave tyranically, dishonestly, and, above all, with unparalleled hypocricy. I noticed also that Benazir described her husband, in her will, as a man of ‘honor’ — enough said.

  5. Mahmood says:
    August 31st, 2008 3:25 am

    This incident highlights the underlying war in all conflicts and struggles in Pakistan, that is of jahalat and enlightment.

  6. Jalal HB says:
    August 31st, 2008 4:05 am

    The senators from Balochistan, by defending the burial of women alive have taken us to the times before the advent of Islam – meaning by that these senators do not belong to the religion of Islam but are part of the criminal society that existed before Islam.

    Thier outright rejection to the values of Islam and clinging to the traditions of the Age of Darkness show how these so called sardars teach their subjects in Balochistan and that is why despite being on of the richest people in their area, their people continue to suffer and live in utter poverty and humiliation. Just to protect their hold on their poor subjects, they have not allowed the governments to initiate developmental projects in their area and then they come on media and lament that Balochistan is under developed.

    Such criminals should not be allowed to sit in the elite house of the country and be CONDEMND.

  7. Babur Mahmood says:
    August 31st, 2008 5:21 am

    I am shocked. I am speechless. I read this news on dawn and i cried. I listened to obamas speech he said “I want my daughters to have same rights as your sons”. I have two daughters. I always used to think of going “back” to Pakistan, or at least make sure thaty daughters knew the Pakistani culture and values. Killing of five human beings is WRONG. It is WRONG. Defending the killing as a tradition is prehistoric. It has no place in any society. Islam condemened this 1400 years ago. I cried because our leaders have yet again let us down. Pakistan as a country is heading towards darkness. Our leaders are fighting. Economy and law / order is the worst it has ever been. The presidential candidates have not condemend these senators because they need their votes. PM is in quetta. I wish he had gone there to personally supervise the arrest of the killers and apololpgize to the family of the girls instead of bidding for zardari. The two buffoons who have defended this need to put in prison. Please let us all write to senate encouraging it to ban theses senators.

  8. Manzoor says:
    August 31st, 2008 5:25 am
  9. iceCube says:
    August 31st, 2008 6:07 am

    This is unprecedented. I am extremely shocked by this murderous act, and even more so by the senators’ remarks. What are these people doing in the Senate? Isn’t this place supposed to be a think tank and guide the country? What kind of ill-minded and sick people do we have ruling over us?

  10. D_a_n says:
    August 31st, 2008 8:37 am

    The utter shamlessness and indignity of the comment from a sitting senator is what is most jarring…im speechless…

    This senator has NO right to sit in the senate and lord it over the rest of us when he himself has NO respect for the rest of us to live and breathe…yet he will continue there…unflinching and unashamed and unabashed at the level of his own jahalat..in typical Pakistani fashion…

    another reason for the rest of us to hold our head high as a civilised nation..I have many proud and dignified Baloch friends and this wretched Senator is a stain on the honour of those good and proud people and I would them to disown this evil little man who has made them hang their heads in shame….

    PS: I am currently reading the memoirs of a certain ‘Lord Roberts of kandahar’ and his time spread over 50 years in the subcontinent…and it is unnerving to read his description of the local population and realise that we have not changed one bit…things such as these merely re-inforce that belief…

  11. Anwar says:
    August 31st, 2008 8:37 am

    When I first read this story I simply could not believe that this was happening in Baluchistan… Apart from these two idiots, I could not figure out where exactly was the state law machinery when this act was being performed? And what happened afterwards to the criminals?

  12. Barrister Ali K.Chishti says:
    August 31st, 2008 9:54 am

    I think there(s) a huge bewilderment and disorientation between tribal laws of the land & the religious laws. I have friends who mention such practices in Saudi Arabia & other tribal societies

  13. Riaz Haq says:
    August 31st, 2008 10:31 am

    Unfortunately,the headlines of horrific honor killings are not rare for Pakistanis at home and abroad. But this latest brutality in Baluchistan is an extraordinary tale of tribal terror. It is particularly shocking for three reasons:

    1. Because it involves a medieval style live burial of five females by their fellow members of the tribe.
    2. There was an attempted cover-up by a government minister whose brother used a government vehicle in committing the crime.
    3. At least two Pakistani senators from Baluchistan, including the current acting chairman of the Senate, spoke on the Senate floor in support of this “Baluchi custom”.

    Please read more at http://www.riazhaq.com/2008/08/tale-of-tribal-terror.html

    Please visit Asian Human Rights Commission Website and sign at petition to Pakistani leaders at
    http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2008/2969/

  14. Harris Siddiqui says:
    August 31st, 2008 12:50 pm

    This is exactly why I strongly believe that democracy can never be established in Pakistan without a comprehensive overhaul of our society first. Our current form of democracy elevates these clowns to the position of power and hands the presidency to the most corrupt of them all.

    Baluchistan, interior Punjab, interior Sindh and most of NWFP is still a slave to this ignorance. Our nation can never move forward until our people are freed.

  15. cynic says:
    August 31st, 2008 1:23 pm

    i think we are confusing two different things here. some of the comments blame democracy for such acts. there is no doubt that such acts are the result of the feudal and tribal culture. but the perpetuation of feudal and tribal society is a direct result of the unrepresentative nature of our successive governments. these people will not be voted in again if the people get their right of using there votes regularly and transparently. so if we want to eliminate such criminals from the “corridors of power” we need more democracy rather than another reign of boots who use these very people for prolonging their rule. the unholy alliance between feudals/tribals, the mullahs and the military will be broken only when we stick with the basics of democracy ie; regular fair elections.

  16. August 31st, 2008 1:27 pm

    Just goes to show you that almost anyone even people who publicly defend such heinous acts can become politicians in Pakistan.

    pakireport.blogspot.com

  17. Sherbano says:
    August 31st, 2008 2:18 pm

    The fact that these two criminal minded individuals are senators says a lot. We as people have given our power away to such lot. Then there is always someone who will blame this on democracy! Does anyone remember Musharraf

  18. Harris Siddiqui says:
    August 31st, 2008 2:29 pm

    My friends, I for one can not make a distinction between Dictatorship and Democracy (as of today) in Pakistan. It is the same people who are the insiders in a dictatorship who get “elected” wearing badges of different political parties with new slogans.

    Our “democratically” elected representatives are about to “elect” Zardari as the new president who will be the worst dictators of all. Nawaz Sharif also proved that in the past.

    If we want to get rid of these people, we must free our people first. People enslaved by the pirs, sajada nasheens, chaudrys, waderas and nawabs will never be able to elect a free government of a free nation.

  19. Sherbano says:
    August 31st, 2008 2:52 pm

    India got rid of “Sati” (a religious practice) by making a law against it. Why can’t we pass a law and implement strongest punishment for honor killings when it’s not even part of our religion or culture? I agree we need to redefine our “honor” and change the slave mentality of masses.

  20. Riaz Haq says:
    August 31st, 2008 2:59 pm

    Successive Pakistani governments have tried to keep the peace in Balochistan by sharing gas and other royalties with tribal chiefs, particularly the three big ones called Bugti, Marri and Mengal tribes. Unfortunately, this strategy has not worked. There has been neither peace nor progress as the chiefs squander the money and continue to demand more. Not only that, they deliberately try and keep their people backward to preserve the reprehensible tribal system that denies basic human rights to their people. As long as the fed govt continues to be blackmailed by the Baluch sardars, there is no hope for the ordinary Balochis.

  21. Abdul Hai says:
    August 31st, 2008 4:58 pm

    I wish:

    1. Senate expel these two senators.

    2. Central government take action. This is quite common in US. When the some whites infringe on the civil rights and the state government does not take action, the Federal government investigates and prosecute the culprits.

    3. The Khutbahs in all the mosque next Friday in a coordinated effort should announce this action un-islamic.

    4. Encourage the best and brightest students to study religion in the best universities. by awarding scholarships. These young men and women would eventually replace the current Imams.

  22. Usman Kadiri says:
    August 31st, 2008 5:03 pm

    Both the senators should be prosecuted for their support to such un-islamic practices. Honor Killing has no place in Islam. However, I also think that media should have acted more responsibly in this case. The issue could have been dealt firmly but quietly. When we sensationalize such issues we tarnish the image of Pakistan in the eyes of the entire world.

    It is my appeal to the moderators and commentators of ATP that please do not sensationalize this issue. This forum is read by many non-Pakistanis also, who laugh at us when they read such things.

  23. JAMALI says:
    August 31st, 2008 6:23 pm

    I really think people should condemn the act but not make teh mistake of assuming that this is what Baluchi culture is. As Adil an Owais have rightly said criminality is not culture. This is not what the Baloch stand for. These acts and their defence are themselves abuse of Baluchi pride.

  24. Riaz Haq says:
    August 31st, 2008 6:53 pm

    Mr. Kadiri’s appeal: “It is my appeal to the moderators and commentators of ATP that please do not sensationalize this issue. This forum is read by many non-Pakistanis also, who laugh at us when they read such things.”

    I think this kind of appeal is just as misguided as the definitions of “honor” and “shame” that motivated the barbaric killers in Balochistan.

    Daylight is the best disinfectant for society’s ills. Instead of covering it up, the traditional and new media have a responsibility to expose this underbelly of our society as part of “jihad” to end evil practice of honor killings of innocent women and girls.

    I congratulate all the newspapers, the bloggers and the commentators for taking their great responsibility to society seriously.

  25. Owais Mughal says:
    August 31st, 2008 9:28 pm

    Excerpt from today’s Jang

  26. Owais Mughal says:
    August 31st, 2008 9:28 pm

  27. YLH says:
    August 31st, 2008 11:43 pm

    There should be an immediate end to the god awful sardari nizam of Balochistan. Those who defend Baloch traditions in the name of Baloch nationalism … you know Sanaullah khan Baloch and the like … should be rounded up and thrown behind bars.

    Both these senators- Zehri and Jan Jamali- ought to be unseated under articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution for negating the ideology of Pakistan and for being bad Muslims in general.

    Time has come to open up Balochistan by hook or by crook and make it civilized.

  28. haris rana says:
    September 1st, 2008 12:48 am

    We should be ashmed of ourselves as citizens of Pakistan if we have these sorts of leader making laws for us. They are not humans even and God bless our so called democratic forces who have enbled these idots as law makers. These are not the just one but there was another one Called Bugti who died in order to protect these so called cultural norms.

  29. Deeda-i-Beena says:
    September 1st, 2008 1:06 am

    It is NOT Jahalat !
    It is NOT Anyones Honour !
    IT IS Straightforward Tauheen-i-Risalat

    Our Prophet condemned the Jahilia practice of burrying the daughters alive. If his followers today are practicing that which he forcefully forbade, It is nothing but Tauheen-i-Risalat.

    Will there be an outrage in our Homes, Mosques and Pulpits? OR will they all silently stand and watch such desecrations?

  30. faisal says:
    September 1st, 2008 3:44 am

    I am not shocked or even surprised. I am not ashamed since I don’t represent these people.

    These terrible (cough cough tribal) folks whether Baloch or Pashtuns are still living in the stone ages clinging on to many traditions utterly incompatible with humanity.

    As for Bugtis, its an open secret that Bugti clan have had their own Jails and a parallel state, where they could kill, plunder and put in jail anyone who dared raise an issue, and the rest of rural Balochistan is not doing much better either.

    I think things will take time to get better, but the Govt. should have the moral and material courage to confront these issues with education, awareness and development.

  31. Tina says:
    September 1st, 2008 7:30 am

    Am I wrong or did I hear somewhere that the politician who “defended” the murders had a relative or more than one involved in the crime. If so then it is a simple case of his using power to protect family members from prosecution. I hope they don’t let him get away with it.

  32. konpal says:
    September 1st, 2008 7:41 am

    God!! Such barbarianism.Such a callous attitude and on top of that now the balochistan Govt wishes to hide behind falsehood.Well let me remind them
    My dear sirs
    this is not the 60′s,70′s or the 80′s even this is not the 90′s where we had excess to the government ruled PTV and they always presented what the govt itself wanted to see. This is the 21′st century where almost every body has excess to the television and trust me if electronic media is shut we have radios, cell fones and the internet. In this situation how can you stop people from gaining info. A tv channel qouted the Zahri sardar saying that since the federation does not know the real situation and do not know the NORMS of the balochi people they should keep away from making statements in this regard.
    Well Sirs care to answer my question:If you BURY your women for wanting to live their live their respected way, what may i ask do you do when one of your men RAPES a woman, molests her in public or for that matter roams her around in the Bazaar in the nude as symbol for all those that BEWARE SHE TRIED LIVING HER LIFE HER WAY AND WE PUNISHED HER.
    ANYONE MAN ENOUGH TO ANSWER THAT

  33. konpal says:
    September 1st, 2008 7:46 am

    My dear miss Tina U are absolutely right the SUPPORTER happens to be a close relative of a SITTING PPP MEMBER thus the attitude. And we are going to elect a president from the same feudal system. Today 5 women have been buried alive tomorrow the whole country will be tried and banished in the name of honor. We never learn

  34. September 1st, 2008 10:31 am

    As many long-time readers know, I try not to comment on my own posts; partly, because I already have the privilege of framing the original argument and it seems inappropriate to influence the discussion too much after one has stated one’s case. However, there are exceptions. And this is one.

    Given the nature of some of the comments, I do think that some points bear repetition and elaboration.

    - First, I must say that I am sad that the last few paragraphs of the post (the most important for me at least) have received little or no attention. As we had feared there seems to be more anger at the Senators (as their should be) than at those who committed this henious act. And very little expressed anger on the reason behind the act – i.e., attempts to define one’s ‘honor’ by control over the weak, and especially women and the trampling of their rights. The outrage over the Senator’s words is appropriate but the silence over the larger issue here is disturbing.

    - Second, and related, some comments seem to miss (or overlook) the essential argument being made here and are equating Baluchi culture with such acts. In my view, to do so is to be no better than these Senators. Their sin in not only that which they said but also the implication they made that this is what Baluchis do. No, this is NOT so. This is an abuse of a great tradition and the criminals and murderers within that culture must not be allowed to define the whole culture.

    - Third, and again related, while burying girls alive is the most extreme manifestation of this, the larger sin of abusing women’s rights, of defining our so-called ‘honor’ by subjugating women, by restricting the choices women make, is found everywhere. Honor killings have been reported (not frequently, but even one is too frequent) everywhere; in all provinces and in all major cities of Pakistan (Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, etc.), even in the UK, elsewhere in the world too. In many other countries too. To say this is just “feudal” and “tribal” is not just abusing those tribal cultures, it is just plain wrong. It amounts to ignoring the problem. Again, the burying of girls is cruel and unusual and inhuman, but the cause of this inhumanity was the attempt to not let women make the choice they wanted to make. How many of us can honestly say that this is only a “feudal” practice and does not happen anywhere else. If not, then should we all not be hanging our head in shame? What killed these girls was not feudalism or tribalism or a particular culture, but the extreme manifestation of a social view about the right of men to impose their wishes on women and of restricting the choices of women. As long as this social view is not changed and the culture of violence that we have written about so often here is not resolved we will keep seeing violent manifestations of this view. Although hopefully not this violent.

    - Fianlly, there are of course those who will use this tragedy to take cheap shots at particular parties or politicians they do not like. These comments are best ignored. If you follow this story you will find that leaders of all major parties in the area (PPP, PML, BNP) are equally involved. Just as this is NOT the problem of a particular region, this is NOT the problem of a particular party. This is a problem for and by all of us. We can sit smugly, point fingers elsewhere and assume its just “them” and their barbaric ways; but in reality it stems from a social norm that is far far more prevalent than that. Ignore it, dear readers, if you wish to. But you will do so at your own risk.

  35. jk says:
    September 1st, 2008 11:24 am

    “These are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them,” Zehri added over the weekend

    Horrible!! Unbelievable!

  36. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    September 1st, 2008 11:31 am

    @Adil Najam,
    @Owais Mughal,

    I, simply can not get over the fact that we discover
    here that not only some ” Jahil-villager”gansters
    organised such cruelty, but we have senators and
    politicians of BNP & PPP involved in the ” justification”
    of such inhuman crimes,
    Double standard justice will now be judged !!

    Rafay Kashmiri

  37. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    September 1st, 2008 11:44 am

    @Faisal Bhai,

    It happens in Punjab and Sind as well,
    a well established “ancient culture ” of gang-raping,
    women degrading & humiliation particularly
    punishing her of all morals, but men, is royal’ly
    immuned!!!

  38. Bashar Siddiqui says:
    September 1st, 2008 12:12 pm

    I wish I can write only this: What will it take my nation to rise up against all these “Satans”. Unfortunately, this is happening every day every where in all Muslim Societies. The Powerful are abusing their power to kill and humilate the weakers of the society in the name of religion, and culture. We keep our women handicaped by not allowing them same opportunities as their men counterpart. I also have 2 daughters and I am happy that I raised them in America. I am proud to say that they are economically more independent and more educated then any of their male/female cousins in Pakistan. I wish we realize that 1500 years ago my prophet has defined their equality to men, and we have no right to keep women as a secondary citizen.

  39. Riaz Haq says:
    September 1st, 2008 12:41 pm

    Adil:

    First, let me congratulate you on taking up this very important topic to get the discussion going. I think you and Owais have done a great service by writing this very significant post. As far as your comments are concerned, please let me say the following:

    You said in your comments: “And very little expressed anger on the reason behind the act – i.e., attempts to define one

  40. Harris Siddiqui says:
    September 1st, 2008 12:55 pm

    Adil,
    You make some good points in your comment but don’t think that the tribal culture has nothing to do with this practice. In these cultures, the chiefs hold all the power and it is a way of imposing their will and displaying their might to the common and weak people.

    I agree that it happens outside the tribal system as well but the tribes practice it in a systematic manner with jirgas, decrees and execution. The end result may be the same but the act of a father killing his daughter in rage is different than a tribal jirga of “elders” making the decision to kill someone else’s daughter in front of dozens of people yet leaving no one in the crowd willing to testify against it. To me, all people witnessing the crime are either convinced of the decision’s validity (making it a culture) or all of them think that it is wrong but are scared to openly speak against it, in which case all the blame should go to the tribal chiefs making the tribal culture the main culprit.

    I did not hear anything about the parents of the unfortunate girls. Were they willing participants in the crime or mere onlookers?

  41. ShahidnUSA says:
    September 1st, 2008 1:27 pm

    The only place for these traditions is in some dark corner of a museum as a painful reminder of a dark jahalat.

  42. Ahmed says:
    September 1st, 2008 1:47 pm

    And the minister involved here was from the PPP. It is such a shame for this party that always says that they are forefront at any movement for women rights.

    Such hypocritical people these are that they develop political links with criminals like those mentioned whose names I detest to even write down.

    This party has always found ways to get into parliament for the sake of simply finding one more, just one more seat in the parliament. Is that all? Is that all it takes to trample on the rights of innocent people and even their lives??? And even now these ministers and senators are there. No questions there from other so-called feminists in the PPP or so-called supporters of women rights. Why no hue and cry from the likes of Sherry Rehman, Farah Isphani, our Speaker of the Parliament?

    Why are these losers who burried the women alive still in the party? Coz the party never cared, never will. Liberal fascism is at its peak in Pakistan – drowning all voices of freedom, burrying all the statues of liberty,…

  43. Abbasi says:
    September 1st, 2008 3:19 pm

    Adil is right at much lesser levels we all are guilty of ignoring the rights of the weak and we must change this

    There have been cases of honor killing in different ciuntrirs including amongst Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and others even though there is no such practice in any of these religions. This is about inhumanity not about religion.

  44. masood punjabi says:
    September 1st, 2008 5:23 pm

    Hello dear Adil and owais,

    Thank you f

  45. ASAD says:
    September 1st, 2008 7:41 pm

    For Rafay Kashmiri, Ahmed and others.

    I guess you are amongst those for whom Adil Najam wrote “use this tragedy to take cheap shots at particular parties or politicians they do not like.” He wants us to ignore you but before I do that let me just say that the Senators and Ministers involved in this belong to (1) PPP, (2) PML and (3) BNP. For Musharraf supporters who wish to take a cheap shot with this one, remember he is the one who said that women in Pakistan get raped so that they can get international media attention!

    Janab-e-waala, iss hamam mein hum sabb nangay hain!!!!!

  46. Salma khan says:
    September 1st, 2008 8:47 pm

    Another political game by jamalis and zahris to take mentally control on other tribes in balochistan.

  47. Zareen says:
    September 1st, 2008 9:32 pm

    Dear Harris Siddiqui, let me take up the challenge that Adil Najam and Owais Mughal have set for us here by building on something you say in your comment. You say that “The end result may be the same but the act of a father killing his daughter in rage is different than a tribal jirga of ‘elders’ making the decision to kill someone else

  48. ASAD says:
    September 1st, 2008 10:01 pm

    To be fair, it does seem that the government is doing the right things by bringing in the culprits. From The News today.

    ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik told the Senate on Monday that three suspects of killing three young girls over “Karo-Kari” allegations in the Nasirabad district of Balochistan had been arrested.

    He said those arrested included Umaid, Qaiser and Inam Khan while investigation to identify the nature of crime and the cause of death was underway. “A complete report will be presented before the house within three days,” he added.

    The adviser said as per the reports received through different sources, the young girls, including Fauzia, Fatima and Jannat Bibi, had reportedly went from Nasirabad to Osta Muhammad in the taxi of Police Constable Shah Mehmood, and Subhan Chandio was driving it.

    Later, a relative of the girls, Murad Balwani, informed the family elders of the girls, who brought them back to the Mirwah area and the girls were killed after three days in the jurisdiction of the Garhi Rehman police station, Rehman Malik said, quoting the report.

    “Meanwhile, the police report says these girls were killed with pistol and shot gun after exchange of harsh words with family members during conflict over distribution of property,” he said. “However, we have rejected the police report,” he added.

  49. Owais Mughal says:
    September 1st, 2008 11:31 pm

    Dawn’s September 2, update on this matter. Read here.

  50. Owais Mughal says:
    September 1st, 2008 11:43 pm

  51. Saim says:
    September 1st, 2008 11:46 pm

    Honour killings unfortunately are not a new thing in this country but the disturbing part is that this time senators and MPs are actually supporting this hineous act. I dont understand why are they still members of the parliament and senate? These two guys also deserve the same punishment as the main culprits do.

  52. Owais Mughal says:
    September 1st, 2008 11:47 pm

  53. Owais Mughal says:
    September 1st, 2008 11:48 pm

  54. Alya says:
    September 2nd, 2008 12:51 am

    I am also glad that the government has taken steps and the courts are taking suo motto notice also that people are on the streets against this zulm.

    We must all rise as a nation and show that we are against this and make sure that all those who are wrong here including these senators are punished.

  55. Haris Rana says:
    September 2nd, 2008 12:53 am

    Would you belive these parlimentarians who reflected their barbaric views by support this act killing women in the man of honour yesterday met our Mr. Smart PM (Yousaf gillani) and shared smiles…CAN YOU IMAGINE!! The savageness of these politicans they can do ANYTHING to get into power NRO or breaking some agreements with N league is nothing for them. i dont know have they forgot their Deaths …!!

  56. Fareed says:
    September 2nd, 2008 1:37 am

    There is no honor and tradition in killing. The tradition of Baloch tribes in the Karo Kari Context is completely different and had a lot of checks and balances which prevented this kind of barbaric activity. The Baloch senators are also ignorant of their own traditions and customs.

  57. Harris Siddiqui says:
    September 2nd, 2008 1:52 am

    Zareen,

    The purpose of my comment was to make a distinction between a family feud and a decree rendered by a jirga which holds the same powers as criminal and civil courts in a tribal society. The same ignorance may be the root cause behind both crimes but you must agree that the acts are inherently different since one is systematic and is used to gain and expand the power of a select few over poor and weak masses of the tribe.

    I am in no way condoning the barbaric act regardless of who commits the crime or how the crime is committed. I am however questioning the argument that it is not a cultural norm. If a village witnesses the crime and accepts the outcome as a valid decision then by definition it is culturally acceptable to them.

    Unfortunately, we may never be able to eradicate the ignorance behind this crime and isolated events will take place from time to time but we sure can strike the system that encourage this behavior.

  58. Kareem says:
    September 2nd, 2008 2:25 am

    I think all the criticism is correct, but let us also acknowledge that as the updates above show, the government has done something here and done the right thing. Let us be clear that Pakistan government has acted against this and acted very strongly. As the headline says, this is criminal behavior of individuals and not the representation of a culture.

  59. Quratulain says:
    September 2nd, 2008 10:28 am

    I am also heartened by the way the people as well as government has reacted to this horrible event. I am glad that the government has taken action. I think the media has also played a very positive role. Let us all make sure that this does not die and justice is actually done and an example made so that people do not think they can keep getting away with things like this.

  60. YH says:
    September 2nd, 2008 10:49 am

    To have our rulers submit to such horrendous crimes just goes to show that we neeed a change of face. Are we just voting the same people in? And has anyone thought about the fact that the villagers might have witnessed this crime but they could be helpless to stop it even if they disagreed with it?

  61. Riaz Haq says:
    September 2nd, 2008 11:57 am

    While it is welcome news that Pakistani government is beginning to act after widespread domestic and international outrage against the Baba Kot incident, let’s not be too hasty in declaring success. The ultimate success we should be looking for is a real change in attitudes to put an end to this honor killing “tradition” of misogyny and brutality that often happens quietly and goes usually unreported. It will require sustained pressure and constant vigilance by human rights activists, ordinary people and the media to hold the government’s and tribal-feudal’s feet to fire.

  62. ALI says:
    September 2nd, 2008 6:32 pm

    I think it now the responsibility of the press and civil society to make sure that action is in fact taken. Until then let us congratulate the govt for taking action, but let us make sure that action is in fact taken.

  63. Kabir Das says:
    September 3rd, 2008 4:18 am

    The way people reacted to the sacking of judges by Mush and the way people have reacted to this crime show we are not dead yet; half dead may be but certainly not dead. In fact all the signs are that we may well be on our way to recovery, thanks to coming alive of our media. We must ensure that the perpetrator and supporter of this crime are both taken to task at top priority.

  64. Sceptic says:
    September 3rd, 2008 10:46 am

    These women/girls were killed because their fathers and brothers felt threatened by the teenaged girls

  65. Western Devil says:
    September 3rd, 2008 1:42 pm

    Killing defenseless women is the act of a coward who has no Honor.
    Period.

  66. adeel says:
    September 4th, 2008 1:06 am

    I think what Sceptic has said is very important. We cannot fully counter such incidents until we change our mentality and attitudes toward women in general.

    It is true that while a father/brother living in Lahore is less likely to kill or injure their womenfolks, but short of that they might try to pull every string they can to stop their daughters/sisters to try to express themselves independently.

  67. Umar Shah says:
    September 4th, 2008 6:20 pm

    A murder is a murder, whether cold blooded, warm blooded, with or without cause. No one except the law should be allowed to decide who dies. Until and unless laws which luckily exist in Pakistan, are implemented and perpetrators are given capital punishment these type of crimes will continue. Not to say that once that happens Pakistan will be crime free but someone somewhere down our miserable existence has to put his foot down or if we were lucky the people would rise and do whats best for them and the land (I guess I am being too optimistic here) but unfortuantely we keep going down the wrong path. Now these feudals who sit in senates and houses of legistlation have no idea what they’re supposed to do other than loot the nation. They are jahil and you cannot expect them to say anything sensible. The one man who took on the mullahs and jahils and kept them in their place is gone. He had too many enemies. Today we’re back to square one – Pakistan is going to be ruled directly by the biggest lutera and chor this nation has ever produced. There is and will be no law, whatever shreds remained of it are gone.
    May the souls of those poor women rest in peace. I dont expect any justice from the people who rule Pakistan.

  68. Sajjad says:
    September 5th, 2008 3:05 pm

    I have the same feeling as of Mr. Umar. Its like nobody is there who can listen to you. Disappointment is at all time high among masses. “Lets fled” is just another common jargon for immigration. People who commit heinous crimes end up sitting on throne and people who dont, always suffer, be it a traffic ticket or extra charged electricity bills.

  69. Azra says:
    September 6th, 2008 5:21 pm

    I am glad that the govt is taking notice and the culprits are being punished.

  70. Jahanzeb EFfendi says:
    September 7th, 2008 8:22 am

    Its an honor to have such great personalities as decision makers and rulers of our country. We are so proud to have the ‘Custodians’ of Honor Killing, Karo-Kari and Bonded Labour as part of our government running the state of Pakistan. Such revered customs exist in all four provinces in one form or the other. It is also evident that education and power does not change the mindset of such inhuman figures! They prefer their Customs above humanity. And i won’t be entirely surprised if these men get away without a scratch. Long live Pakistan! They say democracy is the BEST revenge! Democracy has and will bring such INHUMAN CREATURES as our rulers!

  71. Ali says:
    September 10th, 2008 7:37 am

    THIS IS REALLY PAKISTANS BIGGEST PROBLEM

    THE WAR AGAINST THESE MULLAHS AND TALIBANS HAAS TO BE WON OTHERWISE NO PAKISTAN WILL REMAIN

    THIS IS THE BATTLE FOR PAKISTAN MY BROTHERS

  72. Aisha says:
    September 13th, 2008 9:41 pm

    This article is alarming and frightening. We hear of these honor killings taking place so frequently in Pakistan. Why? Surely “everyone” knows that honor killings are now illegal in Pakistan. But, who in any village dare to speak up against any man or family that kills one of their women in attempt to maintain family honor by showing their superiority and control over a woman. Ah…if she marries someone of her choosing…she cannot be used as a family bargaining chip in attempt to gain local status, wealth, allegiances…etc.

    I have been married for over 12 years to a non-violent decent Pakistani Muslim man. Just imagine my surprise the other day when we were discussing that people should have the right to choose their own spouse and he spouted out that if his sister ever married someone that his family did not agree with or approve of that he would shoot her. How nonchalant the words came from his mouth…as if he felt he had every right to end another persons life in order to maintain “Family Honor?” Why is what the man wants accepted as being so much more important than what a woman wants for her own life? It appears to me that Jahalat mentality is not so uncommon…when it comes to controlling women with an iron fist.

    Just think, if MACHO MALE mentality changed and women were actually permitted to make their own choices…that would mean that men would have to start treating women better or else they mind find themselves without anyone wanting to marry them or find themselves divorced which we see happening more and more.

    Ah yes, control the women so that they have to be obediant because she has no alternatives to escape the choices they make for her except through death. Local residents, elders, the police, and the laws in Pakistan support oppression of women. Where are the social programs to help women who find themselves having to be financially independent either out of choice or circumstance? Shame, Shame Pakistan…the lack of such services is just another attempt at keeping women in line and is like turning a blind eye to the neglect & abuse that many women are subjected too!

    These young ladies who died represent so much to the women of Pakistan and in other places in the world where women are completely dominated by the men with little or no punishment. Indeed, they have died as Martyrs for human rights and women’s rights. Hopefully, their wrongful deaths will not be in vain and will be the catapult for much needed changes in Pakistan.

  73. Aisha says:
    September 13th, 2008 9:53 pm

    Jahanzeb EFfendi:

    Surely you are jesting when you said, “Democracy has and will bring such INHUMAN CREATURES as our rulers!”

    If you believe this then you obviously have no understanding of the true meaning of democracy.

    Democracy supports that all people are created equally. Hence, corrupt and immoral rulers need to be held accountable for their actions/views/morals and removed from office asap or never “elected” by the people in the first place! Freedom of the press is also necessary and so is the protection of journalists who uncover or expose corruption and bad behavior of leaders or those running for office.

    Without the Press, the World would be blind and dumb…and currently journalists as well as women are being restricted & controlled in Pakistan!

  74. Younas says:
    September 15th, 2008 5:51 pm

    What a sorry state of affairs this is.

    But I am glad the govt has acted and some of these people are now behind bars.

  75. ghazala khan says:
    November 15th, 2008 5:53 pm

    Dear Friends
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/wecareforpakistan/
    I have initiated a petition to protest the appointment of two Federal Ministers in Pakistan.Please visit the link above and read and sign the petition, it explains everything.If you want to read more about these events,you can use the links below to visit the various newspaper links and editorials that talk about it.Please forward it to all the people that you think care about this.
    Thankyou.
    Ghazala

    http://www.dawn.com/2008/11/13/top18.htm

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=145007

    http://pakistaniat.com/2008/11/07/jahil-bijarani-zehri-vani-honor-killing/

    http://pkpolitics.com/2008/11/06/capital-talk-6-november-2008/

  76. pakistan says:
    June 8th, 2009 2:01 am

    Discover the beauty of pakistan. Learn the culture, heritage, traditions and landmarks of different parts of Pakistan especially sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan and N.W.F.P and far northern areas.

  77. Dr Khalil says:
    July 23rd, 2009 7:46 am

    i am sorry but this whole ideology initiate [get support] from the ideology the flogging and stoning the people to death if they are involve in extramarital ***.

  78. January 17th, 2010 2:14 pm

    if the elders r going astray then what would be the situation of younger ones.neither islam nor our tribal traditions allow us to shed the blood of innocent people.even if they were guilty they deserved to be trialed in a court to testify their guilt.the sardars and nawabs who are to bold to say so have not experince such happenings in their personal life thats why they have no regard to such events and take it lightly

  79. February 27th, 2010 7:07 pm

    This is inhumane and no culture or religion teaches such barbarism. We must do more than just report such acts, and such representatives should be thrown out of the Senate and/or Parliment; is there any sense of morality left in our representatives?

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