Justice Jillani on Honour Killings (Pakistan)

Written by Shaheen Sardar Ali

The perception of superior courts vis-a-vis honour killings of women by their male relatives has changed somewhat in the recent years. In most judgments under review, judges make it  apoint to distance themselves from condoning killing in the name of honour and admonish such social trends. Superior courts are now increasingly rejecting the old excuse of being ‘provoked by sight f female relative in compromising positions’ for murders. In certain cases courts have refused to give any benefit whatsoever to the acucsed for honour killing on the pretext of his ‘ghairat’ (honour).

Justice Jilani in his judgment in Muhammad Siddique v The State p. 447-448

These killings are carried out in an evangelistic spirit. Little do these zealots know that there is nothing religious about it and nothing honourable either. It is male chauvinism and gender bias at their worst.  These prejudices are not country specific, region specific or people specific. The roots are rather old and violence against women has been a recurrent phenomenon in human history…Nowtwithstanding the Quranic commandments and penal law of the land, the incidents of violence against women remain unabated…This is a typical example of misuse and misapplication of the Hudud in the country.

A murder in the name of honour is not merely the physical elimination of a man or woman. It is at a social political plane, a blow to the concept of a free dynamic and egaliatrian society. In a great majority of cases, behind at play is a certain mental outlook which seeks to deprive equal rights to women.

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