Violence Against Women Continues unabated in Islamic Pakistan

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The recent ‘honour’ killing of a young girl in Mansehra is a chilling reminder of similar incidents in Pakistan over the years. In 2011, there was a jirga-sanctioned murder of eight young people who were filmed while singing and dancing at a wedding in Kohistan in 2011.

77 years after independence, Pakistan remains a society entrenched in a culture that ties notions of honour to women’s bodies. With at least 103 people killed for honour in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone in 2022, it is high time the Pakistani state undertook long-term, structural measures to address violence against women.

In a recent statement the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) noted that the murder sanctioned by a local jirga in Kohistan “is a harrowing reminder that violence against women remains deeply accepted in Pakistan and that the state has failed to rein in antiquated means of so-called justice despite the Supreme Court’s 2019 ruling that jirga decisions are illegal and unconstitutional.”

Further, HRCP warned “While the arrests of the perpetrator, suspected accomplices and three members of the jirga are welcome, the state must also ensure that concrete evidence is collected against the accused and that there is no provision for blood money in this case. Law enforcement personnel must also ensure the security of others featured in the video—a second girl who has returned to her family and several boys who have since gone into hiding.”

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Author: Alia Khan