LAHORE: Around 500 women and girls become victims of ‘honour killing’ across the country every year; thus making Pakistan one of world’s most dangerous countries for women.
This was stated by Dr Muazzam Nasrullah, a public health specialist teaching at the Emory and West Virginia University, USA, during a lecture on ‘honour killings’ at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) on Friday.
He stressed the need fir giving voice to women who were oppressed and to create a more informed and supportive environment for advocacy and policy to eliminate violence against women.
He explained that considered a form of domestic and gender-based violence, honour killings often involved women murdered by family members to avenge shame brought by ‘infidelity’ or other culturally unacceptable behaviours. “It’s a very unique kind of violence, because usually domestic violence is caused by husbands or partners, but this is often conducted by brothers or fathers,” he added.
Dr Muazzam further said that his report was the first statistical study that attempted to quantify the problem since data about the practice were so difficult to collect. He used local and national newspaper reports systematically compiled by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan as the basis for his study.
A total of 1,957 incidents of honour killings were recorded over four years, according to the study. The majority occurred in response to allege extramarital relations, but Dr Muazzam said he was confident the results were lower than the actual number because not every event makes it to the media. “The problem is much more than what is depicted in my paper,” he stated, adding that the mean annual rate of honour killings among females aged 15-64 years was found to be 15 per million women.
He said that murders in the name of so-called honour were prevalent across Pakistan and this crime was known by its regional names such as kala-kali (Punjab), karo-kari (Sindh), tor-tora (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and siyakari (Balochistan).
The lecture was organised by the UHS Department of Family Medicine and was attended by UHS faculty members, students and a number of family physicians.
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