PAKISTAN: Eleven persons were killed in the name of honour during the first four months of 2011 in Sindh province 

Naghma Iqtidar 

An honor killing is the murder of a family member by his or her relatives due to the belief of wrongdoing. These wrongdoings are decided by the family if they think that the dishonor was brought upon them by the victim who are mostly girls and women.

Honor killings are still occurring in Pakistan; and the important thing is that people, who kill on the name of honor, do not feel ashamed about it. An honor killing is also termed as karo-kari in Pakistan.

Karo-kari is part of cultural tradition in Pakistan and is a compound word literally meaning lack male (Karo) and lack female (Kari), in metaphoric terms for adulterer and adulteress.  The concepts of women as property and honor are so deeply entrenched in the social, political and economic fabric of Pakistan that once labeled as a Kari, male family members get the self-authorized justification to kill her and the co-accused Karo to restore family honor.

During the first four months of 2011, as many as seven such incidents took place in the Sindh province of Pakistan. The incidents claimed the lives of 6 women and 5 men making a total of 11. So far, 6 cases have been registered in police stations against these killings; and 6 persons have also been put behind bars. There is only one incident in which neither a case has been registered nor the criminal arrested. In fact he fled from the scene to save his life. Jirga was involved in one case while the remaining six cases are based on self-authorized justification.

The latest of the incidents took place in which five people were killed on the pretext of karo-kari in two different incidents in the districts of Sukkur and Sanghar on 19th and 20th of April.

Three persons, including a woman, were killed in the village of Moula Bux Mastoi near Kandhra, taluka Rohri on 20th April, 2011. Sono Mastoi had been suspecting that his wife Kaneez Mastoi had illicit relations with two youths of the area. First he shot dead his wife and then went to the house of Rano Bugti and Soomer Bugti and killed them. Police shifted three bodies to the Kandhra police station. Neither the post-mortem of the bodies carried out nor anyone was arrested. While the case was also not registered till late Wednesday evening.

A young girl and a boy were killed in the village of Naz Latif near Shahdadpur on Tuesday 19th April. Some unknown killers shot dead Abdul Majeed Kaloi, an 18 year old, and Ms Rasheeda Brohi, a 17 year old girl. Police has handed over the bodies to relatives after a post-mortem. Abdul Kareem Kaloi, brother of Abdul Majeed, lodged a murder case with Shahdadpur police, alleging that his younger brother had been informed by girl`s brother Kareem Brohi that his father Mohammad Sharif Brohi would kill Rasheeda Brohi and Abdul Majeed Kaloi because they had illicit relations.

Most of the events take place on the basis of suspicion as well as misunderstandings which flare up people’s honor; and instead of thinking twice they just go and kill the person.

Tuesday 12th April was a dark day for Mukhtaran when her husband, Farooq, accused her for having illicit relations with Asif Unnar, a resident of the same village, and tried to kill her. However, Mukhtaran managed to escape and took shelter at her parent’s house. Next morning, Farooq went to a landlord, Mohammad Hassan Unnar, and told him about the story. Mohammad Hassan immediately summoned a meeting (jirga) of community elders at his house. The alleged karo, Asif, has not been seen since Tuesday night and is said to be on the run. Therefore, the jirga ordered that both Mukhtaran and Asif be killed. When Muktaran’s father got to know that news, he went to the Bello Mirpur police station and registered an FIR against nine men, including Mukhtaran’s husband and Mohammad Hassan. The Ghotki police raided Hassan’s house and arrested him. They said the other accused would also be arrested soon.

In April, another young woman and a man were gunned down in Ajab Lohar village, the village is a district of Jacobababad, on suspicion of having an extra-marital affair. Farmer Israr Lohar returned home for lunch when he found his wife Robina sitting with Dargahi Lohar. Incensed at the sight, Israr immediately took out his pistol and opened fire, killing them instantly. He, then, fled from the crime scene. Both bodies were shifted to Garhi Khairo hospital and the accused was still at large till the filing of this report.

How ridiculous it is that people are killing their wives; those wives to whom they promise to stay together till death; and the relation which starts on trust ends within moments.

A very shocking incident in which a 25 year old son killed his 55 year old mother on the pretext of karo-kari took place in Hajano village on 22nd February; the accused then surrendered before the police. Begum Khatoon was sleeping when her son, Hussain Bux Lohar, shot her. Hussain and his friends later threw her body into Sherkot Shakh, situated 50 metres away from the village. The victim’s husband had gone to the fields. Hussain suspected his mother was having an affair with a man named Gulzar Jaffery. Lakhi Ghulam Shah police sent the body to Lakhi Ghulam Shah hospital for an autopsy. The victim’s brother, Mehram Ali Lohar, has lodged an FIR against his nephew and two other accomplices.

The shameful moment was when Hussain (while speaking from jail) said, “I don’t have any regrets for killing my mother because she was kari and deserved punishment”. “I am a ‘ghairatmand’ person and will not spare the karo, once I am out of the lock-up.”

Another two shot dead on the name of honour when a man shot dead his niece and a young man in the village of Sharifani, 30 kilometres off Larkana, on 5 February on the pretext of karo-kari. Khuda Bakhsh Chandio shot dead a 28 year old guy named Roshan Ali Chandio in a village street and later killed his 18 year old unmarried niece Marvi who was busy in household work. Police have arrested him and seized a gun from him. He has confessed to have committed the crime and labelled it as honour killing.

Relatives of Saima Bibi, 21-year-old woman, are under arrest for allegedly electrocuting her because she secretly married a man they didn’t approve of. Police arrested her father and three other relatives after being tipped off by an anonymous caller, said police official Muhammad Ismail.

Bibi, an ethnic Baluch, defied demands from her family to marry a Baluch relative and instead ran away about one month ago to the southern port city of Karachi to marry a fellow villager, police official Rao Zahoor said. Her father and several other relatives traveled to Karachi and duped her into coming back home. When she didn’t listen to further demands they electrocuted her, he said.

Bibi’s family told police she committed suicide on Friday in their village in the district of Bahawalpur in Punjab, but a medical report showed signs of torture and electrocution on her hands, legs and back, police said.

One of the most important factors responsible for karo-kari killings in Sindh is the role of the police. A study has showed that the police have failed to register even those cases of karo-kari killings which were reported in the press; and the reason behind this is that most of the policemen are recruited locally. As per law, karo-kari cases are charged under Section 302 but since witness accounts are needed in such cases, they usually work in the favour of the culprits. There seems a severe lack of proper implementation of laws and assurances that men who commit honor killings are not given tougher sentences.

The government is most of the time doing lip service, and is not taking serious actions to stop honor killings in the province which is growing as one of the major problems in parts of Pakistan. Provincial ministries like Women Development, Education and Human Rights are providing free legal, medical and counseling services to the victims of karo-kari but this is not enough. The government needs to take more steps to stop such killings and to give women the freedom to live life in their own way.

Please see the tables mentioning the incidents of honour killings during the first four months of 2011 here.
About the author:
Naghma Iqtidar can be contacted at

Document Type : Article
Document ID : AHRC-ART-029-2011
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Extrajudicial killings, Violence against women, Women's rights,