Rights Groups Seek Justice in Burying Alive of Baloch Women

By Khadijah Shah

ISLAMABAD, Sept 18: Women rights groups from across the country here on Thursday demanded the government to commence an independent probe into the alleged burying alive of five women in Balochistan and solicited the resignation of a senator, Raza Rabani and some public servants who had tried to justify the act by terming it part of local culture and convention.

Senator Raza Rabbani in the last meeting of the committee, lost temper and shouted at the two female members of human rights groups, who were especially invited to attend the meeting. Rabbai got furious when Tahira Abdullah and Samar Minhallah asked him not to protect his party men allegedly involved in the incident.

In a meeting in the office of Information Minister Sherry Rehman on the same issue on Wednesday, Khosa was once again highly critical of the performance of his own department.

Speaking at a press conference, which was preceded by day-long consultations and followed by a protest demonstration here in front of the camp office of Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club, activists of a number of women rights organizations held the state responsible for the reoccurrence of crimes against women in the name of honour and tradition in various parts of the country.

Representatives of civil society organisations and activists from all over Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Jacobabad, Khairpur, Sukkur, Naseerabad, Mardan, Swabi and Islamabad held a day-long consultation and expressed their lack of contentment over the research held to the burying alive of five women by the inspector general of Balochistan.

Speaking at a press conference later, Anees Haroon of Aurat Foundation termed the crime heinous, barbaric, and unspeakable and part of the local power politics in Balochistan, which, she said, needed to be condemned in strongest possible words and countered by punishing those responsible.

She said the Senate had already expressed his dissatisfaction over the investigation report prepared by the police under the IG Balochistan as it suffered from various procedural lacunas. She stated the civil society commission should prepare an independent fact-finding report, while a senior and renowned lawyer should oversee the investigations being conducted by the police.

Ms Haroon was announcing a joint statement prepared during consultations called together by the Joint Action Committee (JAC), Women Action Forum (WAF), Insani Haqooq Ittehad (IHI) and Violence
Against Women Watch Group. A large number of women participants unanimously termed the women killed in the name of honour as ‘Shaheed Auratain’ (Martyred Women), and said 16 days of activism this year would be dedicated to such women killed in honour-related crimes.

The joint statement also called for disqualification of Senator Israrullah Zehri and all those public representatives who had allegedly “defended” honour killings. It demanded legislations against the informal judicial structures like Jirga and Panchayat.

Ms Haroon said the Pakistan Penal Code needed to be further amended so that murder was brought back as a crime against state and should under no circumstances be compounded. Murder of members of vulnerable groups should be taken as an aggravated rather than mitigated circumstance.

She said that aid women and human rights groups would also hold four seminars at provincial levels in order to build local support against honour killings.

The participants of the consultation later gathered in front of the camp office of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club and staged a demonstration demanding the government to take practical measures to curb violence against women.

The participants were holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans against acts of male chauvinism in many parts of the country.

Source:
Ferhan Mazher
Rays of Development Organization
Sargodha, Pakistan

Related Content
Gendercide in Pakistan: Women are a colonized population!
‘Violence Against Women’? No! GENDER-CIDE in Pakistan!
Women Slam Govt Against ‘Honour’ Killings

Roundtable On Honour Killings Today

By Khadijah Shah

ISLAMABAD: To condemn the inhuman prevalant practices of violence against women, with special focus on the recent case of burying alive of five women in Balochistan in the name of honour, a roundtable is being held at the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) today (Saturday).

Organized jointly by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and the CII, the roundtable meeting will be attended by human rights activists, representatives of civil society and journalists. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs for Balochistan, Robina Irfan will also be in attendance. Other panelists for the roundtable include I.A Rehman, Ansar Abbasi, Naeem Mirza, Tahira Abdullah, Samar Minnallah and Dr Arifa Syeda.

To examine the religious status of such practices, religious scholar Allama Khilji will also speak on the occasion. Chairman CII Dr Khalid Masood is to kick-off the event. Talking to ‘The News’, Gender Expert
at NCSW, Sofia Noreen said that the meeting was aimed at highlighting the typical way of covering up cases of honour killing.

“The meeting will discuss the history and mindset behind such practices and political, social and religious dynamics involved in making such practices acceptable in the tribal system.”

She said that it was important to comprehend the standing of religion on the issues and the mindset that allows such heinous practices in the name of tradition. “Discriminatory customary practices are
protected by a certain mindset and there is a need to point out these elements and raise voice against them,” she said.

Dr Nasir Zaidi of CII said that the idea was to condemn the case like Jafferabad through a joint platform. “Participants of the roundtable would present recommendations on how to put restraint over unjust customary practices and these recommendations would then be presented before the CII central meeting,” he said adding that finally those recommendations would be given to higher authorities. On July 14, five women were brutally tortured and buried alive in Roopashakh, Goth
Qaboola at the border of Naseerabad-Jaffarabad because three of them had the courage to opt for court marriages of their own free will.

Hameeda, Ruqqayya and Raheema are three of the five victims who were killed in the name of honour.

Source:
Ferhan Mazher
Rays of Development Organization
Sargodha, Pakistan

Related Content
Gendercide in Pakistan: Women are a colonized population!
‘Violence Against Women’? No! GENDER-CIDE in Pakistan!
Women Slam Govt Against ‘Honour’ Killings