It is shocking to see that in today’s era when education and awareness has become the most integral part of human and societal development. Moreover, women empowerment and their role in every walk of lives have changed over the period of time. There are still such hideous practices that are being done in some parts of the world under the disguised name of honor killing and Pakistan being one of the countries which holds the highest rates of honor killings in the world. Karo Kari another name for ignorance.
This name originated from the rural areas of interior sindh. It is being practiced in areas of Sindh such as Jacocabad, Sukkur, Khairpur, and Larkana along with other areas of Sindh and some places in Punjab. THE TRIBAL SYSTEM Pakistani society is rich with multiple cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Each of these cultures and people from diversified ethnic groups come from distinct backgrounds and live together hence they have their own traditions and customs which they have been following since years.
In the rural areas of Pakistan the tribal system still exists such as areas in the interior sindh. This is where the ‘jirga’ system or commonly known as the “panchayat” system exists. Under this system the rich and the influential class of the village tends to form a committee and takes decisions on behalf of everyone and the decision given by this group is bound to be accepted by every member of the society. They have their own way of judging the case and passing a verdict on that, they take their own time, they think over it and give the date for the decision.
The lower and the poor working class is suppressed under this system as they don’t have any say in it and obliged to follow it. KARO KARI Karo Kari is practiced when the women of the family has brought dishonor to the family name by any means. This could be if the woman has any illicit relations with any man, or an extra marital affair, she could be a rape victim or even if she wants to get married to somebody of her choice she is brutally killed by one of the family members themselves in order to bring back the lost glory and name of the family.
It is not just this that an innocent women can be categorized as Kari and killed it is also when the family and the brothers want to keep the property and resolve land disputes she becomes a victim of this murder, for example if a man owes some money to a person and that creditor comes to his place in order to collect the money to his place from another village and stays over night. The person who owes the money would kill his wife next day and declare her a Kari so that he doesn’t have to pay the money .
in this way the creditor would choose to leave without taking the money rather being declared as Karo and being killed. Similarly a man can be declared a Karo even if he doesn’t have any kind of affair with a woman but he has any form of dispute with some other tribe and he’ll be killed under the name of honor killing. These killings tend to have the most inhuman ways of torturing some one and sentencing them to death. They will bury the girl alive recently in one of the states of Sindh, Khairpur; a girl was thrown in front of dogs to be torn apart as an act of hour killing.
THE RISE IN THE NUMBER OF KILLINGS It is very depressing to see that the trend in the number of killings that has taken place due to this has increased over the years instead of dropping. It is estimated that over the last six years in Pakistan the number of deaths caused by Karo Kari have been more than six thousand which included around 800 men too, so it is not just women who fall for this, there are men too but their number is relatively lower than the women.
Different societies have different people and thinking therefore they believe what they are doing is the right way but this practice of suppressing the right of women and taking her right to live is a murderous crime and contradictory to the teachings of Islam. It is that barbaric evil of the society that has to be eliminated completely. Even worse is the fact that the rich and influential class tends to get away with this practice while the poor are helpless and they become the victim. THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
As far as the government and other NGO’s are concerned then in the year 2004 there was an amendment made in the constitution which declared honor killings such as Karo Kari as equal to murder however, this amendment never came into practice because under another clause of the constitution it was stated that the accused can get away with the crime if one gets the consent of the family and in this case of Karo Kari the victims family itself is the one who are doing it therefore nobody can be put to trial as they don’t appear in the police station.
It is the government’s duty to look into this matter and they should have made an alteration in the other amendment so that this brutal practice can be put to an end, however no concrete step has been taken to curb this. KARO KARI IS UNJUSTIFIABLE Karo Kari is a cultural shock to anyone who belongs to a civilized, developed and educated society and would condemn it. it is a murder not a punishment there could be any other ways of punishing one for their doings but such act is not justifiable on any grounds, it is barbaric and takes away the freedom of speech and expression.
The dominating men in the “jirga” system have curbed the rights of women in these rural areas. It is actually the sardars who are the influential “waderas” who tend to encourage this practice as this increases their prestige in the society ,over that they get a compensation from the “jirga” too. Karo Kari is another name for ignorance, Islam has already restricted the Muslims and it has set punishments for the victim therefore any other act that is being practiced under its name is simply ignorance.
In Islam having an illicit sexual relationship is condemned and the accused is whipped not subject to killing. How can one justify the killing of a woman who has been subjected to rape? By declaring such a women Kari and killing her society is depriving the soul from getting justice and instead of taking her out of that trauma one is putting an end to her life. Why are women accused more then men in Karo Kari, it is not that men are more faithful then women it is just that women are weak in these areas and men are strong that is why they are able to get away with it.
These “jirga” have no right to take away the liberty to live from such people; they should work for the benefits of the society by coming to a conclusion on the basis of “shariah” not merely stay ignorant. Women are not property that their life is kept at stake to resolve land disputes. Moreover the killing is done in the most inhuman way. To bury some one alive, throwing her in front of dogs or to burn her alive is unjustifiable. Such practices were there in the olden days when there was no education and no awareness but it’s shocking that it still exists in our society and nobody has done anything to put an end to it.
It is unjustly exploited by the feudal land lords and the elite class of the village who use Karo Kari to resolve their personal matters. One such incident took place when a native of interior Sindh came home after years of hard work from Dubai and brought money back home to start some form of business in his native land. He came in the eyes of the feudal lord due to his money and business. The opportunist wanted to trap him in the case of Karo Kari and he got the opportunity when the man by mistake prayed on the grave of some other women, thinking it to be his wife’s grave.
The feudal lord took advantage of this and declared him a Karo; the man not only paid 15million to the land lord in order to save his life, he was kicked out of his home land and his business was taken away. There are many such instances when the influential people of the “panchayat” system tend to trap others for their own good and they use this practice of Karo Kari as a tool in order to get away with it. It is unfortunate to see that such murders are given the name of honor killings. THE URBAN AREAS VERSUS THE RURAL SETUP
The tragedy with these women lies in the fact that they are born in such a set up and society where they are considered as a burden on the family. Girls still cannot compete with the boys and neither can they express their opinion. Sons are preferred over daughters. Daughters are not encouraged to go to school or get exposed to the outside world. Therefore their thinking is confined to just one place. They are expected to do what they are asked for and nothing else. Lives in the urban areas are an extreme opposite view of this.
If one may not go far and compare with places in the similar province such as Karachi. The region is developed and modern. It is a cosmopolitan city and comprises of people from all caste, color and creed and they all share different cultures and languages and live altogether. Women here are educated and empowered like never before. They are independent, focused and know exactly what they want out of their lives. They are working as well as having a family and they are doing well in every walk of lives and competing with men.
They take their own decisions. The living and culture of these societies varies from the rural areas actually there is no comparison. The two societies share the same religion and language yet again there are differences of opinions and thinking process. The urban life of Karachi is mush more modern and liberal as they are adopting the western culture in their society. Apart from the right to go out or make money, women can dress up the way she wants, socialize, make friends and do whatever she wants to.
Girls are actually encouraged to go and study in co education and moreover sent abroad for further education and their families and relatives support them in this. In these urban areas there is no such thing as ‘jirga system. Life is different here justice drawn through legal courts and with the help of police. A rape victim can go to the police and lodge a complaint against the culprit and she has the right to live and fight for her right and nobody can stop her. All kinds of disputes pertaining to property, ownership, marriage or anything are resolved through legal procedure in the courts.
After the age of eighteen years the girl and the boy have the right to choose her own life partner and get married to him legally. The concept of honor killings does not exist in these urban areas. This society has its own set of evils and drawbacks such as poverty, corruption, unemployment, terrorism. Women in urban areas are as influential and resourceful then men that they can not be dominated unjustly. Tribal system is a sign of backwardness and illiteracy and refusal to accept this fact is what is leading to what it is today.
These two societies have completely different set of values, cultures, traditions and norms that they follow. The living and lifestyles of these people are also different. In the urban areas there are also powerful and influential people who tend to subjugate the weaker class, however that is done in entire different way where the free will of everyone is not included like the “jirga” system where everyone is bound to listen to them? Life in the urban society has made men and women strong and independent that’s the way they are brought up, whereas the tribal system has put them in a much weaker stand.
The practice of Karo Kari is a social issue and it can not come to an end until there is no change in the social structure of the society and in order to change to be there, there has to be awareness and education and the powers of the rich and the land lords needs to be curbed so that they don’t exploit the common man who work for them as their slaves. It should not be encouraged but since it has been following from years and the people in the villages associate it as a matter of prestige and honor that is why is strongly accepted and being followed. It is not being used in villages to make easy money.
The men’s of the family tend to kill their own daughter, wives and sisters ruthlessly in order to make easy money. it is actually depressing to see this that in today’s time such type of unjust ways of killings are taking place by the wrongdoers and they are justified on the basis of honor killings. 60% cases of the cases of Karo Kari are reported to be where the accused were innocent and yet killed. Every society and every religion have their own set of limitations which are known to all. Yet again those are not being followed that doesn’t mean that one can make use of it and exploit it on the basis of “ghayrat”.
There are officials in the government who haven’t done anything to stop this practice because they feel it is not wrong, not only men, there are women who are seen in the political setup who have the ability to do something, yet are not doing anything. There are different cultures and people living in one country and each of them have their own problems and drawbacks. Whereas in one province one woman can get married by giving a divorce to her husband and in the other society she is buried alive if she has her own opinion.
This tribal system has gone so worse that the people who live under it fear their death and therefore few try to escape and the ones who have money give that and get away with everything. Even if people try to escape these killings the villagers look for them and they kill them whenever and wherever they find them. Education is the key in all this that can reduce the gap and disparity among the two societies and give everyone the freedom to live as an independent citizen. ohou Key words Honor killings in Pakistan Karo Kari and the tribal system Women empowerment
Courtney from Study Moose
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