Five Pakistani women were beaten, shot and buried alive in the tribal region of Baluchistan on July 13 of this year. What was more shocking was the subsequent defence of these ‘honour’ killings from certain members of the Pakistan Senate.
Women's groups have expressed outrage over the killings
Israr Ullah Zehri, who represents province where the women died, told a stunned parliament that tribesmen had done nothing wrong in first shooting the women and then dumping them in a ditch."These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them,.Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid." he said.
The women, three of whom were teenagers, were first shot and then thrown into a ditchin what was a brutal episode of honour killing.They were still breathing as mud was shoveled over their bodies, according to media reports, which said their only "crime" was that they wished to marry men of their own choice, against the wishes of tribal elders.
According to details, the women were about to leave for the civil court so that the three girls could marry the men of their choice. Their decision to get married in court was the result of several days of discussions with the elders of the tribe who refused them permission to marry. As the news of their plans leaked out, a group of men abducted them at gun point. and taken in a vehicle to another remote area,. After reaching there, the men took the three younger women out of the jeep and beat them before allegedly opening fire on them. The girls were seriously injured but were miraculously still alive at that moment. They were hurled into a wide ditch and later covered with earth and stones. The two older women - an aunt of one of these girls and the other, the mother of one minor - when protested and tried to stop the burial of the girls who were still alive-further enraged the attackers. They were so angry at the interference that they pushed the elderly women in the ditch along with the injured girls and buried them alive too. After completing the burial, they fired several shots in the air so that no one would come close.
It is considered an insult in some conservative regions of Pakistan for women to have affairs or marry without consent, and rights groups say hundreds are killed by male relatives every year.Reaction of Dr Farzana Bari, a university professor and a human rights activist from Islamabad who is leading the outcry against these crimes:
Desire to control women’s lives and their sexuality is far greater in areas where feudal and tribal systems are prevalent. For example, you will not find the same oppression of women in Islamabad, Karachi or Lahore. But where there is a strong tribal or feudal hold you see that women’s sexuality is strictly controlled by the family – and particularly the male members of the family.