The rampant problem of karo kari in Sindh – as evidenced by over 70 cases of honour killing in just the first six months of this year – is a blight on Pakistan’s legal and justice system. Only 15 days ago, IG Sindh took notice of a tribal jirga that declared two girls Vani under allegations of karo kari. While the practice of honour killing or murder in general is clearly against the law, the lack of convictions in cases such as this and the inability of the police to carry out thorough investigations are both problems that contribute to the continued existence of this practice in the country.

Families and villages see this as a personal issue and do not take kindly to state intervention, which adds to this problem. The state is bound to protect that lives and property of all individual Pakistani citizens, no matter what related parties might say about the incident. This problematic mindset must also change if we are to eliminate the menace of honour killing within society. Tribes and families cannot see their heads as replacement for judges and are not authorised to exercise judgement or pass sentences according to their own interpretations of various traditions, completely ignoring the law in the process.

At a time when Pakistan is looking to highlight the atrocities in Indian occupied Kashmir at the behest of the state, we cannot afford to have cases of human rights violations occur with this alarming frequency; especially since Indian media is gunning for Pakistan in its bid to overturn the narrative of state-sponsored terrorism at the behest of BJP and RSS. We must put our own house in order, to enable Pakistan’s international stance to carry more weight going forward as well. In this battle of narratives, any news story like this will be exploited by the hostile neighbour; this story is already doing the rounds on Indian media, getting more coverage than it is here at home.

Politicians have made the requisite laws to prevent barbaric practices such as this, but as a next step, the police must be forced to investigate cases of honour killing and unauthorised tribal justice with due diligence; failing which a penalty should be imposed, as this is the only way to force the police to carry out its responsibilities. Alongside this, the state must also look to spread awareness regarding what the law says on this issue. These are long-term processes that will take time in ridding the country from the menace of honour killing, but the longer the state puts this off, the more likely are we to see further cases of honour killing in the future.