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Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Two fathers murder daughters in Pakistan to public outcry

Two teenage Pakistani girls were killed by their fathers in separate incidents, triggering an outcry in the country plagued by a rise in gender-based violence.

Police in the north-western region of Charsadda was conducting raids on Tuesday to arrest a father who killed his 18-year-old daughter after seeing her dancing in a video, local official Mohamed Munir said.

The father got angry after watching the video that was uploaded to social media without her consent, Munir said, quoting the girl’s mother.

Hours later, a 19-year-old girl was shot dead by her father at the gate of a courtroom in the southern city of Karachi for marrying the man of her choice, police official Shabbir Ahmed said.

The latest incidents shed light on the brutal practice among some in the conservative Islamic society known as “honour killing”.

Around 1,000 people are killed in Pakistan by close relatives on the pretext of saving family honour every year, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

In most cases the killer goes unpunished due to an Islamic clause in Pakistani laws that allows a victim’s relatives to pardon the perpetrator, Amnesty International said.

Pakistan approved a law in 2016 to partially do away with the controversial clause, but that proved hardly enough to stop the practice, according to the HRCP.

“Gender based violence is an epidemic in Pakistan,” politician Shaza Fatima Khawaja wrote on Twitter, as angry reactions continued to pour in.

“These are preventable murders, if the state and society pay attention to the underlying mentality behind them,” human rights lawyer Sara Malkani added. 

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