Tahira Khan's Beyond Honor

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In her book ‘Beyond Honor’, a feminist and a cultural critic, Tahira Khan, argues that acceptability of Panchayat practices is due to the widely held notion of shame/honor scheme in South Asia where female servitude enhances the male honor. Any act committed by woman that damages the male honor and supremacy, is unforgivable. This concept is so entrenched in the social fabric of our society that once a girl is declared Kari (impure) by the Panchayat, so they are deemed a legitimate sacrifice to restore honor (UNICEF, July 2007). In such a social milieu, a woman’s life, let alone her happiness, has little worth. Lewis (1994) recounts that in Pakistan, gender interactions boils down to two perceptions; that female is subordinate to the male members…show more content…
Pakistan’s patriarchal society repeatedly condones discrimination against women mostly amongst the poor and uneducated rural families, says Dr. Farzana Bari, the Director of Gender Studies at Quaid-e-Azam University. She further elaborates that this mindset influence the police and judiciary; causing them to turn a blind eye to honor killings. According to her, "honor killings are a symptom of vigilante justice that occurs in an environment where the state is unable to enforce its writ." Pakistan is ranked among the most dangerous and unsafe countries for women after Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo according to a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters in 2011; mainly because of the prevalent cultural, tribal and religious customs that are harmful to women. Nearly 100 women and girls become the victim of honor killing mostly resulted from orders from panchayat (HRCP). An average of 300 women annually have been known to suffer from ‘Karo Kari’ the gang rape order by the panchayat system in Pakistan’s feudally dominated interior areas…show more content…
The case of Muktaran Mai, who was ordered to gang rape and later was forced to walk half naked through the crowd was a vicious act vowed upon eye for an eye principal (NY Times, 2002). Mukhtaran statement that, ‘They did not have to use weapons to kill her, rape killed her’ identifies the intensity of the torture. Mukataran Mai took her case to the courts despite the constant threats from the complainant, where the justice was delayed and denied, acquitting five of the six accused in the rape case. Delays and the denial of justice in such cases generate trust deficit between people and official justice system and highlights a structural failing of the criminal justice system, according to Ali Dayan Hasan, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch 's South Asia division. The outcome also represents the misogyny of Pakistan 's judicial system as it is impulsively unsympathetic to women. Moreover, a girl named Maria committed suicide after being ordered by the Panchayat to be raped in revenge for her father’s attempt to rape a minor. These cases unfold that under the cloak of justice and local customs, women, and children are treated as a tool of compensation. This form of structural violence has got passive acceptance among marginalized groups. However, these cases resulted in huge outcry by the women and human right activists resulting in parliament passing
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