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CRIMES IN THE NAME OF CUSTOMS
Most of you may be familiar with the Crimes practiced in Pakistan, in the name of Customs. Today, I aim to provide you with an insight into these Crimes. So let’s start.
Women in Pakistan live in a world structured around strict religious, family, and tribal customs that essentially force them to live in “Char Diwari” ( four walls), submission, and overall fear.
They are subjected to discrimination and violence daily due to cultural and religious norms. Pakistani Islamic Law too dictates traditional family values and is enmeshed in the legal system.
This places men as decision-makers regarding marriage and divorce matters. Pakistan’s law, government, and society discriminate against women and condone gender-based violence.
The first crime practiced in the name of custom is Honor Killing. Honor crimes are an act of violence usually murder committed by male family members against female family members who are perceived to have brought dishonor upon the family.
A woman can be targeted by the family for several reasons such as refusal to enter into an arranged marriage or being a victim to the sexual assault or even seeking a divorce from an abusive husband or committing adultery.
Simply, the mere perception of the family that how a woman has acted has brought dishonor to the family is sufficient to trigger an attack.
Honor Killings are common in the interior of all provinces of Pakistan which results in the massacre of Honor Killings to satisfy one’s perception of what is and what isn’t.
The second crime practiced in the name of custom is Karo Kari. Karo means black males and Kari means black females.
It is another custom where a man can kill a woman, claiming that she has brought dishonor to the family and yet expect to be pardoned by her relatives.
In Sind and Baluchistan provinces, the term Karo Kari has been officially employed as a label for the crime of double homicide. A man or a boy and a girl or a woman are both killed usually by the husband, father, or brother in what is characterized as a fit of rage.
Here the killer sees or in many cases hears or blames the victims actively engaged in sexual activity. Traditionally wherever practiced, Karo Kari is perhaps the only form of Honor Killing.
Another crime practiced in the name of custom is Violence. Be it verbal or physical or any other form, it is violence. In Pakistan, the rate of violence is comparatively much higher compared to other crimes.
Violence on women includes physical, psychological, and social oppression. It includes abuse, rape, acid attack, burning, killing, etc.
It is a violation of the right to physical integrity, to liberty, and to her right to life itself.
Another crime practiced in the name of custom is Forced Marriage. In the interiors of the Sind and Baluchistan provinces, marriages are forced and women are bound to bow before the wishes of the family.
Marriage of convenience is another custom where people consciously exploit the institution of marriage to obtain wrongfully certain advantages.
In Pakistan, however, women’s marriage with the Quran is common amongst feudal families or were inherited property matters.
Child marriages are found in the majority of the Tehsils. Such as Rojahan, Kot Addu, Taunsa, Tribal Area, Jatoi, Jalalpur, Pirwala, and Muzaffar Garh. In many Tehsils, early age engagement and Nikkah is also in practice.
Another crime practiced in the name of custom is the sale and purchase of women for marriage and lust purposes.
The sale and purchase of women is a practice and is more common in tehsil’s of Rajan Pur, Tribal Areas, Jampur, D.G Khan, Kot Addu, AliPur and Jatoi.
Vani or Swara refers to a customary practice that is widespread across Pakistan and is used as a method for resolving disputes and settling debts between families and tribes.
According to this custom, females members from the offending male family are married or given to the victim’s family as reparation or penance.
These decisions are often made by the jirga or panchayat which is a council consisting of the elder members of the community and convene an informal court to decide methods for resolving disputes.
This custom is practiced mostly in Kot Addu, Tribal Area, Multan, Shujjabad, Rojhan, Jampur, D.G khan, Taunsa, Jalalpur, Pirwala, and Muzaffar Garh.
Aaf and Aas is yet another custom practiced in the tehsil of Rajan Pur and Jampur.In this custom, the offender/accuses have to prove himself/herself innocent by crossing the burning fire.
Another crime practiced in the name of the custom is Numrad. It is a custom practiced in Southern Punjab in which after the marriage of the woman; the daughter or girls of the husband’s brother is given to the woman’s family ( father or brother) in exchange.
They can marry that girl to whomever and where ever they want to.
In the end, I would like to reiterate that such and other aforementioned Crimes practiced in the name of Customs need to be abolished forthwith.
Whether women belong to NWFP or Punjab, many do not get justice for these crimes practiced in the name of customs and there are lists and lists of women who have been affected and suffering.
These women demand such practices be declared null and void with immediate effect. It’s time to take action. Think about it. Until next time, stay safe and healthy.