Sunday, September 18, 2005

Licence To Kill

We just saw a 2000 BBC documentary about how women are treated, under law, in Khalid Hasan's pathetic Pakistan.

Licence To Kill is the staggering story of a diseased society where women can be killed, under law, without any meaningful consequence. Here a young man kills his own mother, another who accepts money to absolve his brothers of cold blooded murder of his wife, and yet another prosperous pillar of society -- all evidence suggests -- is complicit in the murder of his own daughter in the supposedly secure chambers of her lawyer.

And how does the -- surely viagra challenged -- Pakistani establishment react? Read the following and judge for yourself:

There is also the case of Samia Sarwar the daughter of a wealthy businessman and Head of the Peshawar Chamber of Commerce, another who wouldn't listen. When she sought divorce from her violent husband she was gunned down in the office of her lawyer Hina Jilani. The killer was taken there by her own mother.

A resolution was tabled in Pakistan's Senate, condemning her murder, honour killings and violence against women. It failed. Last August, of the 87 Senators in the upper house of Pakistan's parliament only four voted for the motion and condemned the killing of women.

Those who voted against the resolution argue honour killings are a deterrent to sexual immorality, an effective means of social control.

And if you thought there's been any social advance in the five years since this documentary first aired, read this Reuters story from earlier this very month:

Pakistani girl, 15, flees in fear of honour killing

Fifteen. She is just fifteen and people want to kill her in the name of honour. A terrified child cowers for her life in this society -- how does one even talk about peace and Pakistan in the same sentence?

Frankly speaking, it's not clear at all why we seek peace with this state? If peace were offered on a platter, morality demands we turn away -- for what is peace worth with a state that condones such barbarity? Do we seek peace only to impotently look away from rampant state-sanctioned violence against our Pakistani sisters?

Woe unto anyone who seeks such immoral peace. Do we really want economic gain over the graves of these terrified and murdered women? Woe unto anyone who seeks such economic gain.


Gameboys said...

I'm not an expert on Pakistan, but it seems like there's this bloody head-in-the-sand culture of denial prevailing over there. On the hand, the Pakistani elite wants to portray (as Musharraf has been doing) the country as a moderate and modern Islamic nation and at the same you have these atrocities going on unchecked. The pathetic spin attempts will not wash with the world increasingly in no illusion as to Pakistan's credentials as a tolerant, forward-looking state.

Women in Islamic countries may not enjoy the same freedoms their counterparts in the West or elsewhere do, but they are much better off in South East Asian Islamic nations such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Perhaps it is no incidence given the history and the cultural mix.

libertarian said...


This is truly shocking. They've completely lost the plot. They need some serious help and soon. This is the country where young men celebrate Independence Day (that black day) by riding on bikes with silencers removed and harassing women. I thought it was a prank by a few - nope - it's a widely-practised time-honored tradition!

We need to accommodate them within our system. I've concluded that the people of Pak cannot bring major change about themselves - the powers that be are too powerful and brutal. It's up to us. I don't know how we collar them, but it's becoming painfully apparent that it needs to be done.

history_lover said...

Well this is not a unique insight but I thought I would like to add this here
My first cousin (who got married to a pakistani last year) says there is a much greater amount of corruption and breakdown of law and order in Pakistan.She lives in Karachi by the way.This was just her personal impression ...

libertarian said...

And of course if you have a macho-man like Musharraf at the helm, nothing's gonna change. The following piece in the Wash Post (registration reqd.) is hilarious.

Primary Red said...

The General is a moron!

If he is representative of their military leadership, no wonder Pakistan loses all wars it instigates!!


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