Karo Kari still haunts Sindh -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Karo Kari still haunts Sindh

KARACHI – While scanning through the annals of history of the sub-continent, numerous cases of Karo Kari or honor killings have been reported. This is not a pre-historic practice. Acts such as these are unfortunately being practiced blatantly, even today, mostly in the Upper Sindh Region and its adjoining areas. Nowadays it is gaining momentum and is widely spreading in the major urban centres of Pakistan. Basically Karo Kari involves the murder of an individual, usually female, albeit males accused of having illicit relationships. The Jirga patronises this practice.

The cases of Karo Kari that have been reported as of today narrate a state of dismay and shame. So far 15 cases of Karo Kari have been reported out of which 12 females under the age of 18 and three innocent boys have been reported murdered under this heinous practice according to report released by Society for the Protection of Rights of Children (APARC) Despite the ban on Jirga by the Sindh High Court, more than 150 Jirgas has already been conducted in the region. It is ironic that not only the local feudal lords but also by the government officials and the elected representatives are responsible for them.

Hundreds of decisions took place out of the court to resolve the issues disputes and bloody rivalries among different tribes. In some extent the decision makers were successful it resolve such kind of issues through Jirga system. But ironically children were the victim of these decisions because in Sindh it’s a common practice if any body wants to resolve an issue he must contact with his or her feudal lord and then the lord constitute a team which is called Jirga. It is very much obvious that Jirga decisions victimise the children.

In June 2006, a dispute among two groups of Banglani tribes on karo-kari was resolved by a Jirga which was headed by Mir Hazar Khan Bajarani, member of National Assembly. The Jirga imposed a decision of giving the hands of 4 girls from the rival groups aging between 3 to 5 years. Nobody can imagine that a Jirga held in Shikarpur decided a dispute between Imdad Saithar and Ramzan Saithar who took 10 buffaloes on the loan from Imdad and he was unable to pay back Rs 170,000. The Jirga was headed by Agha Sana-ullah Durrani, prominent lawyer and social figure of Shikarpur, who decided Muhammed Ramzan to either give money or his two daughters as compensation to Imdad.

These are the two examples of Jirga decisions that are not only violating the child rights but specifically girls are target of Jirga decisions. In October 2004, the Sindh Government tried to legalise the Jirga system and made an attempt to pass an ordinance. The governor Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ibad was promulgating this. That ordinance was being commenced from April 2004, according to its Section 1(2), despite being presented in October. This resulted into the wide spread protests over the whole of Sindh from different human rights activists and organisations.

The whole purpose of the ordinance was to provide a safe passage to the different sardars and chiefs who were in authority to conduct the Jirgas. This could have resulted into the violation of the basic human rights and would have mocked the whole judiciary system at higher level.
There have been more than ten Jirgas on record, which have been reported through different media sources. Out of which the most recent one is of December 28, 2006. This particular Jirga was conducted by Mohammad Khan Junejo former MNA, who has given the verdict on his official letter pad to compensate an innocent three- year- old girl of the accused to perform Nikkah with a two -year- old son of the accuser. According to the sources of Private local TV, Mohammed Junejo was an MNA of ill repute and Sindh High Court had nullified his MNA status due to the presentation of forged academic documents. To add insult to the injury, the victimised family was forced to leave their village by the influential lords as a repercussion of them speaking to media and bringing this issue to light.

There has been an alarming increase in the killings of children due to different reasons. Children were either subjected to negligence or manhandling by their parents, relatives or were victims of street disputes in addition to their own carelessness due to lack of awareness and knowledge. There have been more than 150 child fatalities due to different incidents. A considerable number of cases of child kidnapping have been reported during the period January 2006 to July 2006. Incidents specify the involvement of people who are either organised or are in some way related to the child’s family. These criminals usually demand a hefty amount in ransom for their release. The kidnappers are also found to be involved in human trafficking.

Children were kidnapped for much different number of reasons including sexual abduction, psycho-maniac behaviours, family disputes and possible prostitution purposes.
According to statistics more than 130 children have been reportedly kidnapped in the region of Sindh out of which there is a majority of girls who have been abducted according to SPARC reports .
Source: The Nation
Date:12/30/2006