No justification


How ridiculously worthless does one need to be strangled to death by her own flesh and blood in the presence of her own flesh and blood? In the case of Pakistan, being born as a female does the job. Yet another heart-wrenching video surfaces from Toba Taik Singh where a father quenches the thirst of his murderer son, likely exhausted by the fight put up by his daughter killed under his roof and before his eyes, the debilitating reality demands that society stop sugarcoating honour killings and call them what they are-straight up murders.
No justification or cultural tradition can excuse taking someone’s life in the name of ‘honour’ but while these pages make a personal record by printing the same lines over and over and over again with slim hope of a better tomorrow, thousands of women continue to be murdered by their husbands, fathers brothers and other male relatives who believe they have wronged their notions of “honour.” Bizzaringly, these principles are not imperilled when they let their worst demons rip through. The girl in question was not killed because she had wished to marry someone of her own choice or dared to step outside the man-made boundaries but because her sole existence had lured her male relatives (clearly, not robots) to rape and impregnate her. So wretched are our morals that the act of taking away her life would, in time, be celebrated as one of atonement.
Not many believe in the official statistics that claim that at least 1000 such murders occur every year. Because these families are experts at hiding their crimes, often burying the victims in unmarked graves, the actual figure is bound to be much, much higher. If words alone held the answer to these poor women’s troubles, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had denounced them as having nothing to do with Islam as far back as 2016. Immediate reliefs were promised and the judiciary and the legislature both thumped their desks, proclaiming to usher in a new, more progressive, safer era for the country’s women. As is the case with many other things, the tragic traditions continued.
From patriarchal anxieties fuelling the crisis to inefficient, biased and highly susceptible to corruption justice system comfortably holding the wheel, there is a lot that needs to be changed. Even after the state became a complainant in the much-talked-about Qandeel Baloch murder case, it could not do much to reverse the acquittal of her brother, thanks to a pardon by her father, speaking volumes about how complicit the entire society is in the undoing of our women. Would anything change in the near future? Most likely, not. Should we – regardless – continue to raise our voices, demanding the state to come up with a magic mantra to keep our women safe? Every single day.