This week’s FirstCast features Shehrbano Taseer, the daughter of Salmaan Taseer who was assassinated for publicly condemning the misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. She is continuing her father’s work and has become an international voice for the victims of extremism and religious intolerance. Shehrbano has been speaking out against the forces that killed her father and against laws that persecute in the name of religion. Follow the link to listen to the podcast.

This book discusses how the women’s movement in Pakistan started addressing/addresses violence against women. Chapter 1 is based largely on a narrative account of the Zia government, the underlying politics of Islamisation, the factors that led to the formation of Women’s Action Forum and the ways in which the overall political environment influenced its work.

This paper reviews case law on 'honour killings' in Pakistan, where under the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance heirs of a victim of murder are entitled to pardon the murderer. The paper reflects, through an in-depth analysis of case law, criticisms made of the legal system and the judiciary in the failure to extend the protection of the law to women in these circumstances.

Farida Shaheed examines violence against women legitimised by arguments of culture from a Pakistani perspective. She departs from the principle that regardless of the nature of its manifestation or where or when it occurs, violence against women is always legitimised by arguments of culture because no society is devoid of culture. The dominant culture throughout the world is patriarchal and the patriarchal culture inevitably accepts violence as an attribute of masculinity.

This publication provides a comprehensive guide to analysing 'crimes of honour' in Pakistan from both a practical and academic perspective. This booklet provides information on the relationship between Islam and 'crimes of honour', and the inconsistent and ineffective actions of the Pakistani justice system in these crimes.

This article critiques the rape laws of Pakistan from an Islamic gender-sensitive point of view. The author argues that the Hudood Ordinance and the Zina Ordinance, which criminalise extra-marital sexual relations, do not follow the gender-egalitarian spirit of Islamic laws, but rather are tainted by cultural patriarchy.

This article conducts a systematic review of the published literature other sources on karo-kari and related forms of honour killing or violence against women. Media and non-governmental organization reports are utilized for case studies and analysis. Although legally proscribed, socio-cultural factors and gender role expectations have given legitimacy to karo-kari within some tribal communities. In addition to its persistence in areas of Pakistan, there is evidence that karo-kari may be increasing in incidence in other parts of the world in association with migration.

The study seeks to identify the overall impact of tribal jirga system on the cases of karo kari in Sindh. Major findings of the study show that the codes, rules, regulations as well as verdicts of tribal jirgas are opposed to not only the formal law and the constitution of Pakistan but also international standards of human rights. In the eyes of tribal jirga, killing a woman in the name of honour is not a crime.

During the course of activities initiated by Shirkat Gah under its “Women, Law and Status Programme” involving community based organisations in Sindh, various incidents of a cruel custom came to surface due to which the lives of countless women and girls are sacrificed. Further investigation revealed that the roots of this custom, known as karo kari, are deeply entrenched and that motives behind murders taking place in its name are also surprisingly varied.

This study sets out to explore honour killings in the context of human rights, as a violation of international human rights law meriting the accountability of states. The study aims at providing an analysis of honour killings as a violation of human rights law, identifying the human rights provisions that may be invoked in regard to honour killings and analysing the various approaches that can be taken in order to achieve international accountability for honour killings.