Another victim of ‘most sacred’ honour killing
KARACHI, May 29 2006: Eighteen-year-old Ayesha Baloch was dragged to a field; her brother-in-law held her down; her husband sat astride her legs and slit her upper lip and nostril with a knife. They call such assaults on women a matter of ‘honour’ in some communities here. But for the majority it is a source of national shame. Married less than two months ago in district of Dera Ghazi Khan, Ayesha was accused of having sexual relations with another man–before marriage.
“First they tortured me and beat me. I started screaming. Akbar then caught my hands and pulled me to the ground. Essa sat on my legs and cut my nose and lips,” Ayesha mumbled through her bandages at a hospital in Multan. “I was bleeding and started screaming after they fled on a motorcycle. People heard me and rescued me and took me to my mother’s home,” she said. At least she wasn’t killed.More than 1,000 women are slain by their husbands, or relatives, and that is just the reported (not actual) number of ‘honour killings’ each year. Many killings are planned, rather than done in rage, and the motive often has more to do with money or settling score.
The same week, a world away from Ayesha’s village, social activists, parliamentarians and community leaders had gathered in the suburban, leafy capital of Islamabad to launch a campaign–‘We Can End Honour Killing’. Farhana Faruqi Stocker, country director of international aid agency Oxfam, said some 10,000 people, called ‘change-makers’, had signed up so far. But Stocker knows two constituencies will be vital to the campaign’s success.
“The mindset of legislators has to be changed in order for good legislation to come out,” Stocker told Reuters. But she is well aware that there are many remote rural areas of Pakistan where maulvis (clerics) exert more influence than local government and federal law.”In order to bring change, we have to engage with clerics.”
Source: B. Recorder