Laws against Karo-kari demanded -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Laws against Karo-kari demanded

KARACHI, Jan 18: Speakers at a seminar on Saturday condemned the inhuman custom of Karo-kari and demanded that specific laws be formulated and implemented to eliminate the practice.

Speaking at the seminar on “Karo Kari and the Role of Writers” organized jointly by Daira-i-Adab-o-Saqafat (International), Dhaka Group of Institutions and the Arts Council of Pakistan, they urged a massive campaign to make people aware of this victimization of women.

They said hundreds of women had been reportedly killed in the interior of the province during the past one year under the pretext of karo kari, and stressed that the number was just the tip of the iceberg as an overwhelming majority of the cases were not reported.

They emphasized the need for changing people’s mindset as when somebody committed murder in the name of karo kari he was regarded a hero and even police did not treat him as a criminal.

They criticised the role of police who, the said, did not carry out investigations into such cases properly. They said even members of the lower judiciary usually gave benefit of a provision in the law regarding “sudden and grave provocation” to the murderers, setting the criminals free or awarding very light punishment to them.

They suggested that gender sensitization training be given to police personnel and members of the lower judiciary. They said that poor people were affected by the custom more than rich people as incidents of karo kari among the rich were rarely heard or reported.

They observed that karo kari did not have its roots in Sindh and had travelled down from Balochistan, and even today prevailed in the areas heavily populated by Baloch tribes or having borders with Balochistan. They said that now other tribes had also started to follow the custom.

They noted that karo kari was mostly used to settle old score as those involved in disputes of property and money killed their rivals and then the murderers killed one of their own women – sister, daughter, wife, etc – and gave it the colour of karo kari.

They pointed out that though both men and women were found involved in such cases, women victims far outnumbered men and stern action was not usually taken against men and they were usually given light punishments. They further said that karis were not even given a decent or proper burial and in certain places there were even separate graveyards for karis.

They recalled that once during the pre-partition era the English rulers took strict action and sentenced to death a few people who had committed karo kari, the number of such incidents declined.

Prof Sehar Ansari, Dr Zafar Iqbal, Ghulam Nabi Mughal, Asfar Rizvi, Hasan Zaheer, Dr Mumtaz A. Khan, Prof Noor M. Shaikh, Zafar Mohiuddin spoke on the occasion. Raghib Muradabadi, Fiza Asmi, Mubashir Mir and others recited poems on the subject.

Source: Dawn
Date:1/19/2004