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Home Crimes Surge in Honor Killings: 126 Cases Reported in Peshawar Over Five Years

Surge in Honor Killings: 126 Cases Reported in Peshawar Over Five Years

In Pashtun culture, if a girl marries her own choice without her family's consent, it is considered a grave dishonor, leading to societal pressure and, often, violence.
by Salman Yousafzai - 11 Jun, 2024 104
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"I was about to leave the house for the morning prayer when someone knocked at the door. When I opened it, my brother's in-laws were standing there," recounted Zahidullah, the younger brother of the deceased Abrarullah, who was sitting in a room mourning his brother's death. Zahidullah continued, "I asked them in surprise what brought them here. They said, 'Call Abrar and his wife out. We have business with them.' When I called my brother and sister-in-law, as soon as they came out, the in-laws shot and killed them both."

Zahidullah, a resident of Panam Dherai in Mathra, Peshawar, explained that his brother Abrarullah had a love marriage with their uncle's daughter two years ago, which the girl's family disapproved of. To avoid conflict, Abrarullah and his wife hid in Peshawar city for two years. A few months ago, an agreement was reached in court between the two families, allowing Abrar to return home with his wife and daughter.

Zahidullah has filed an FIR at Nasir Bagh police station against the in-laws for the honor killing of his brother and sister-in-law.

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SP Nasir Bagh Jawad Ishaq, when contacted, confirmed that the police have arrested one suspect in this honor killing case and are actively pursuing the other suspects.

SP Ishaq noted that this incident is part of a troubling pattern of honor killings in his division, with six such cases reported in the last six years. According to him, the underlying cause of these incidents is the lack of awareness about human rights in society. In Pashtun culture, if a girl marries her own choice without her family's consent, it is considered a grave dishonor, leading to societal pressure and, often, violence.

According to Peshawar Police data, 126 honor-related incidents have been reported in the last five years, with 12 killings recorded in the first five months of this year alone. The police reported that 17 people were killed in honor-related incidents in 2023, 37 in 2022, 28 in 2021, and 22 in 2020. Over the past five years, 137 suspects involved in honor killings have been arrested.

However, non-governmental organizations working for human and women's rights argue that the actual numbers are higher. Khurshid Bano, chairperson of "Da Hawa Loor," an NGO focused on women's rights in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, stated that many honor killings go unreported, as families often cover up these incidents. She emphasized that while a law was enacted in Pakistan in 2004 to curb honor killings, lack of enforcement has rendered it ineffective. Bano also highlighted that in many cases, the families of the victims forgive the perpetrators, allowing them to escape justice.