Honor killings no more than cold-blooded murder.
Pakistani media groups insist such crimes should be prefaced with 'so-called,' but what do names and nomenclature matter to the dead or to a family where abstract honor is more important than red-blooded life?
Amber Rahim Shamsi
What stayed with me, as much as Saba's fierce strength, was her father's implacability behind bars. He said that, in trying to kill his own daughter, he was sending a message to all the girls in his family the perils of individual choice. "[Being in jail], it's a life of honor. I haven't committed a crime. I haven't robbed anyone," he said. Saba later forgave her father and he was released from custody, as provisions in Pakistani law allow for perpetrators to be set free if the victim or heirs of the victim agree to reconcile. Last year, the Pakistani Parliament passed a law aimed at curbing honor crimes, making it harder for families to forgive killers. But lawyer Asad Jamal argues that tying up legal loopholes does not take care of the sociopolitics. "Women are weak and the whole justice system is tilted against the weak - poor men, women and children. Women victims of violence need social and state support, whether it is financial or procedural," he said. Last week, I interviewed politician Nafisa Shah, who has written a multi-disciplinary study of honor crimes. She says honor killing is a modern construct, adding: "At the end of the day, it is just a cold-blooded, premeditated murder." Perhaps the first step toward reducing the number of killings was the nomenclature; the second, criminalizing violence in the name of honor; and the third and most difficult step - diffusing the notion that life has more worth than honor. * Amber Rahim Shamsi is an award-winning multimedia journalist who hosts the Newswise news and current affairs show on Dawn News. She has worked with the BBC World Service as a bilingual reporter, presenter and producer. Twitter: @AmberRShamsi
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|Publication:||Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)|
|Date:||Dec 6, 2017|
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