Pakistani Woman Speaks Out Against Honor Killings

A brave Pakistani politician is speaking out against honor killings.
In 2007, 403 women were killed in her Pakistani province alone.
Stop Honor Killings reported:

In the male-dominated arena of Pakistani politics, one female legislator is making a name for herself by challenging the centuries old traditions of her rural constituency that she says are holding back progress.

Nafisa Shah (pictured), 40, a legislator from the Pakistan People’s Party in Sindh province, is one of 72 women who were voted to Pakistan’s 342-seat National Assembly in February.

Her areas of expertise include honour killings and karo-kari, a traditional, feudal custom in which couples found in, or more often merely suspected of, adulterous relationships are killed by family members as a way to restore their honour.

The law takes a lenient view of this “crime of honour”, which often leads it to be abused.

In 2007, 403 women were killed in Sindh province alone, including 26 young girls and 196 women condemned under karo-kari, according to the Aurat Foundation, a Pakistani non-governmental organisation…

“Feudalism is holding back progress in the province,” said Ms Shah, a former award-winning journalist. “The way power is organised in Sindh must change; tribal identities force and reinforce the power of the chief.

Haris, or the landless tillers in Sindh, are badly oppressed, she said. “Murder, as a result of indebtedness, property disputes, and for honour, is a big issue,” she said.

…Her first detailed story on honour killings in 1993 won the All Pakistan Newspaper Society award, and became the focus for a postgraduate degree in social anthropology at Oxford University. She put that thesis on hold to campaign for the 2008 elections.

“It’s not enough to call this a cultural practice; honour killings are a form of power. These are not extra-judicial killings but fit within the framework of the law. Immediate kin have the right to negotiate, and the legal power to condone murder in the family,” Ms Shah said.

Ms Shah called for the laws that allow honour killings to take place to be repealed.

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