Pakistan outlaws "honor" killings
It's about time.
In the eyes of their families and tribes, Shahid Mustafa and Imam Khatoon committed an unpardonable, heinous crime: They eloped.I don't care what your religion is. There is no justification for killing people for "dishonoring" the family.
The young lovers fled at midnight from a remote village of Pakistan's southwestern Sindh Province and were married in a Karachi court two years ago. Back in the village, the girl's parents felt their daughter's actions had brought dishonor upon their family. They took their anger to a tribal jirga, or gathering, where the couple was placed under a death threat known as Karo Kari.
"The armed men of the tribe are chasing us. They threatened me to send my wife back to her family, attacked our house, and shot twice at me and my wife to kill us," says Mr. Mustafa.
Ten months ago, when Mustafa was away from home, the men of his wife's family kidnapped her and their infant son. Mustafa has not seen or heard from them since.
Though it may be too late for Mustafa's wife, and more than 1,200 other women in Pakistan killed last year in the name of "family honor," President Pervez Musharraf signed a bill last week making honor killing an explicit criminal act punishable by death. Rights activists say it is a small step forward and that more must be done to change tribal and feudal attitudes that treat women like property.
Thank God that Pakistan is finally taking steps to put this behind them.