Not less than 943 women, including 93 underage girls, were killed "in the name of honor" last year in Pakistan. This was stated in the report prepared by the human rights organization "Pakistani Commission for Human Rights." Pakistani media published excerpts from the report.
It goes about the so-called honor killings, or karo-kari, as they are known in Pakistan. The relatives of a woman believe that they may have a right to kill her if they conclude that the woman has defamed their family.
Pakistan is not the only country where such killings are conducted. This is a widely spread phenomenon in Muslim and Arab states. Honor killings may take place in the republics of Russia's Northern Caucasus.
Most often, honor killings are based on the aspiration of modern women to break the rules, which the society sets for them. Women can be killed in the name of honor for many reasons. For example, a woman can be killed if she dates a man even though her family forbids her to. She can be killed if she decided to tie the knot with the man, whom her family dislikes. She can be killed for promiscuous behavior, premarital sex affairs; if she confronts her husband; if she wears European clothes; if she goes in for politics.
A woman can also be killed in the name of honor even if she had been raped. She can be killed if other people believe that she either did not show enough resistance to the rapist, or if she provoked violence herself.
As for Pakistan, the above-mentioned report said that the largest number of victims of karo-kari killings - 595 - account for unapproved love affairs. More than 200 women were killed for their decision to get married without the approval from older relatives.
The Pakistani authorities have taken efforts to root our certain traditional norms and rules in rural and mountainous regions of the country. However, the number of acts of violence against women in Pakistani families has been growing steadily during the recent years. In 2010, for example, the commission registered 791 karo-kari crimes, which was nearly 150 less than the year before.
In 2010, the authorities of Pakistan approved the law about the protection of women from harassment. The law stipulated considerable fines or even a prison term of up to three years for various humiliations. The law became an extension to the law about the protection of women, which the parliament of Pakistan approved in 2006. The law overturned the punishment by stoning for voluntary extra-matrimonial affairs. Additionally, the law introduced serious responsibility for the lynch law.
All those novelties raised concerns with the followers of traditional values and with radical Islamists. According to them, the above-mentioned laws were approved in Pakistan because of the pressure from the West and the USA. The West, Islamists believe, wants to destroy the traditions of Pakistani families and turn the country into the zone of free sex.
Human rights and feminist organizations condemn the killings, of course. They believe that such killings are committed by men, who punish those women who dishonored them and their families. However, honor killings are committed against men too - for the same reason. A man can be killed for sexual perversion - homosexual activities, excessive drinking, etc. Muslim men can be harassed and eventually killed if their beliefs differ from those shared by the majority of other male citizens.
Such killings should not be considered as an anti-feminine tool. Men can be killed too, if they act inappropriately with their wives.
Up to 5,000 honor killings are committed in the world every year. However, it would be a huge mistake to believe that such killings occur in Islamic states only. Such crimes occur frequently in European countries too, not to mention Latin American states.