Pakistan – The Devil’s Playground

I was shocked to read in today’s news about the brutal death of a young girl who married against her mother’s wishes, and was brutally murdered because of it. The girl, eighteen-year-old Zeenat was choked by her mother, and while still alive, burnt to death with kerosene. After this despicable act her mother, Parveen Rafiq screamed from her rooftop, “I have killed my daughter. I have saved my honor. She will never shame me again.”

A Victim Of Sharia

A Victim Of Sharia

The whole saga began when Zeenat decided to marry her childhood sweetheart and not a man whom her mother had chosen in a so-called ‘arranged marriage’, a member of their own social caste, the Rajput. Zeenat had her heart set on a childhood friend, a 20-year-old motorcycle mechanic named Hassan Khan who lived nearby in their crowded Lahore shantytown. Her death on June 8 was the latest in a series of increasingly gruesome “honour” killings in Pakistan, which has one of the highest rates of such killings in the world.

After they married Zeenat went to live with Hassan and his family, but her mother and uncle came to the door many times begging her to come home at least for a few days because they forgave her. Her mother wanted to arrange a proper marriage for the pair to dispel the idea held by the neighbours that she had eloped. She eventually agreed, but on the fourth day was killed by her mother in the aforementioned despicable way.

Neighbours outside Rafiq’s home all agreed that the mother was driven to kill Zeenat, and she should go free. “Daughters are duty-bound to maintain the honor of the family,” said Muneeba Bibi. “It’s better to have no children than to have a daughter who brings you shame. Zeenat’s killing was a good lesson for all the girls here to protect the family honour,” she said.

Zeenat’s mother has been arrested as police and prosecutors found a way around the forgiveness loophole. Rafiq and one of her sons suspected of helping in Zeenat’s killing have been detained and face charges under the anti-terrorism law, which defines any act that causes general panic as terrorism. We will have to wait and see how that goes in court.

A Girl Who Assisted Her Friend To Get Married

A Girl Who Assisted Her Friend To Get Married

In another such case a mother in Abbottabad slit the throat of her pregnant 22 year-old daughter who married a man she loved. The victim’s girlfriend who helped her, was systematically tortured and then injected with poison. After that she was strapped into the seat of a car which was then set alight. She died in absolute agony.  The council of local elders, ordered her killing as a message to others.

Last year, 1,096 women and 88 men were killed in “honour” crimes in Pakistan, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The fact of the matter is that the numbers are most likely far higher, as not all get reported. Those who kill for “honour” are almost never punished in Pakistan.

Both Stabbed As Torture Before Being Killed.

Both Stabbed As Torture Before Being Killed.

This country has the highest rate of honour crimes in the world, and the sad thing is, the perpetrators of these killings are very seldom punished for their crimes. It’s all to do with the savage Sharia Law that allows such actions. The law, based on Islamic Shariah allows the family of a victim to forgive a killer, and in these cases the killers are almost always family. So other relatives give their forgiveness, unwilling to see loved ones jailed.

It is a fact that more than 70 percent of Pakistan’s 180 million people are under 30, and many are challenging these traditions to an unprecedented degree. Marvi Sermid, a women’s rights activist said, “The old order of misogyny and extremism is falling apart, is really crumbling.” The campaign has been assisted by women going to school and working outside the home, and social media has helped women raise their voices. 

Message Of The Young

Message Of The Young

The government proposed a law aimed at protecting women against violence, but in May the council put forward an alternative allowing men to “lightly beat” their wives. On TV talk shows, guests denounced the council as misogynist and out of touch. Some lawmakers called for it to be disbanded.

I have a feeling that this argument will rage on for a very long time, for although the younger generation in Pakistan seem to be more enlightened, the old are not, and stick fast to their ancient traditions.

To me these people are still living in the stone age and it all has to do with the Muslim Sharia Law. It is not the same in all Muslim countries, but we still get to hear about stoning to death, the chopping off of a thief’s hand and hangings in the street.

By comparison I will not say that our western justice system is better, for many killers and thieves get ridiculously short sentences, and have an easy time of it in prison in many countries. But it is better than the sheer savagery of Sharia Law.

Will it ever change, I doubt it!

Roy.

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