Pakistan has one of the highest incidences of honour killings in the world. This is a major human rights issue that has received little attention outside of human rights groups and women activist networks. This paper provides a critical reassessment of honour killings in Pakistan and argues that the prevalence of honour killings is due to fact that traditional justice prevails over jural law. Since the late 1970s, aspects of traditional justice have been incorporated in the Pakistan Penal Code, thereby sanctioning homicide of men and women charged with adultery and fornication.

During the course of history, and in more contemporary times, a large number of honour killings have been reported from the Mediterranean, Latin American, and certain Muslim societies. However, research suggests it is an error to view the practice as being peculiar to a certain geographical region or belief system. Pakistan is one of the countries where the incidents of honour killing are among the highest in the contemporary world.

The aim of this article is to examine the various routes a victim of honor related violence might take to seek justice, so as to assess where the impediments within the available systems lie and what hurdles face women victims in particular.

Using the example of Pakistan, this paper highlights the classic struggle taking place in many Islamic societies today, as progressive efforts for reform, particularly on the issue of women’s rights, are met by fundamentalist opposition and government inaction. This paper discusses the contours of the problem of honor crimes with a particular focus on Pakistan’s honor crimes legislation and analyzes the various factors contributing to both the practice of honor crimes, as wellas government resistance to reform.

This paper discusses the situation of VAW in the region of South Asia, employing examples from all of its composite countries (including Pakistan). South Asia continues to have the worst indicators with regard to violence against women in the world. In addition to the common problems of violence against women, South Asia has particular cultural and religious practices that also accentuate the problem of VAW in the region. The general low status of women in the region and the entrenched nature of discriminatory structures have led to what is seen as a lifecycle of VAW.

This report addresses the issue of violence against women in Pakistan from a legal perspective – the Constitution, Zina Ordinance, the judicial system, and international law. Though the number of violent incidents against women is increasing, the Government of Pakistan continues to condone these acts by failing to hold perpetrators accountable. Through this legal lens, this report calls on Pakistan to fulfil its obligations under customary law and international treaties, and for the international community to hold the government of Pakistan accountable.

This report gives an initial historiography of violence against women and its roots in the Subcontinent, and positions in within the broader global context. By juxtaposing the statistics related to both violence against women and men, it shows the numerical prevalence of the former.It speaks to the intersection between violence against women and poverty and then goes into detailed case studies on forms of VAW in Pakistan: abuse of women, prevalence of domestic violence, the socio-customary practice of Karo Kari/honour killing, and apprehensions on the honour killing bill.

This report describes the different facets of the phenomenon of honour killings in Pakistan. It looks at the traditions that form the framework of such killings, particularly the commodification of women and the notion of honour. Honour killings may happen for a variety of reasons, including seeking a divorce, rape or choosing a marriage partner. The report highlights the failure of the authorities to prevent these killings by investigating and punishing the perpetrators.

The booklet highlights the practice of 'honour killings' and emphasises on the lack of awareness, statistics and media coverage that the custom of karo kari receives. It, furthermore, provides details of recent cases of honour killings in Pakistan.

B, who was paraded naked in the streets of her village, Neelor Bala, a few days ago, still fears for her life and of her family members because the accused have not been apprehended. Her traumatised 10-year-old son also shakes in fear as he remembers his mother`s ordeal that he was a witness to. “They slapped me a couple of times before attacking my mother,” he recalls. “One of them held me by the arms when I tried to reach for her.”

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