Gul Meena (pseudonym) belongs to Matta Tehsil of Swat and her age is around twenty-two years but she is afraid to talk to a non-male even to look at him from a distance. And the reason for this fear was the honor killing of his younger sister Farzana (fake name) a few months ago.
Farzana was a first year student and wanted to get married but she failed to convince her parents and brothers. The brothers were afraid that she might not perform a court marriage, so they killed her in the name of “honor”.
Farzana was killed by her brothers and father by poisoning her tea and it was known in the area that she was suffering from cancer for a long time and due to this she died. And the reason for doing this was to protect the brothers and father from any legal action.
In the last few years, there have been several incidents of ‘honour’ killings in Swat, in which many people lost their lives, but the majority of those killed were women.
According to a non-governmental organization “The Awakening”, 229 people were killed in the name of ‘honour’ in Swat in the last seven years. According to the report, 211 women and 18 men are among the dead.
According to The Awakening, since 2012, they have been working on cases of domestic disputes, honor killings, sexual violence and suicides in Swat. “The Awakening” collects data on these incidents from its members, police, newspapers, journalists and lawyers.
A 25-year-old youth from Babuzai area of Mingora Tehsil, the main city of Swat, said on the condition of anonymity that in 2019, ‘I had a court marriage with a girl of my choice and both of them are living happily’.
“It’s been three years of marriage but till now we are forced to live outside Swat. We have come to know through a friend that the girl’s parents are still looking for us to meet and kill us both. We are sorry. In Malakand division including Swat, marriage of choice is not considered good but Islam allows us marriage of choice. I wonder when we will understand this truth.”
Why killing in the name of ‘honor’?
Honor killing is the killing of a member or members of a family, usually by a member or members of the same family. , has brought dishonor or shame to the family or has rebelled against family traditions. Common reasons for this killing include marriage of choice, divorce, separation, refusal of forced marriage, desire to marry outside the family, illicit sex or sexual assault.
“The history of honor killing is not a few hundred years old, but centuries. Since ancient Roman times, there is a history of killing women in the name of honor.”
Why are incidents not reported?
Irfan Hussain Babak, executive director of The Awakening, says that most of the men and women who are killed in the name of honor are poisoned, later such incidents are given the color of suicide. These incidents mostly take place in Swat Tehsils Charbagh, Matta, Khawaza Khela, and remote areas of Tehsil Kabal.
According to the human rights organization “The Awakening”, 53 people have been killed in the name of honor in 2016, 50 in 2017, 32 in 2018, 32 in 2019, 29 in 2020, 18 in 2021, and 15 in 2022. Including 211 women and 18 men.
Every year The Awakening reports cases of violence and honor killings from various regions and provides financial support as well as legal support to the victim’s family. Most people come to him with their own problems.
Irfan Hassan Babak further said that The Awakening has created special family courts in which we deal with cases of ‘honour’ killings, mistreatment of women, domestic violence, non-inheritance, divorce, mental harmony, and underage. I solve marriage and other household problems like impotence. To prevent this, the elders of the area, human rights organizations, and above all social workers can play an important role. Together with them, these problems can be overcome.
The opinion of the common people is very important in legislation because legislation is for the common people until the government is informed about the real problems of the people, until then it is not possible to make effective laws.
According to Irfan Hussain Babak, so far he has reported 228 cases in seven years and so far 80 percent of the criminals have been legally sentenced, but sometimes it also happens that after the court sentences the accused. Affected persons get a consent form.
According to Irfan Hussain Babak: It is not easy to work on violence, honor killings, and incidents. We have been working in various districts of the Malakand division including Swat since 2012. We also face severe difficulties. These incidents are always between two families, so most people threaten our members and lawyers. Campaigns are also launched against us in various areas including Swat because everyone knows that it is difficult to work here because of the Pashtun culture but we will continue to fight for human rights and intolerance.
Corona epidemic and violence against women
According to the survey report of The Awakening in 2020, during the coronavirus, people were confined to their homes, and because of this, in the incidents of violence against women.