Honor killing has been, and continues to be, a bane of the sub-continental society.Yet, until the recent past when the human rights movements finally shifted their focus to the malaise, it was rarely ever highlighted. This scourge was inherited by Pakistan from its very inception, and the decay has persisted till date.

In 2012, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan noted in its annual report that, “at least 943 women were killed in the name of honor, of which 93 were minors”.But despite the raging debate and the reformation in laws, curtailment of the crime continues to prove to be a herculean task.

The mensrea behind this perverse act could be the assuagement of inflated egos, and it is commonly committed in the rural and backward areas of the country as a punishment for the ‘disrepute that the act of marrying a person of choice brings to the family’. Take for instance, the inhumane incident in Chakwal, wherein a brother brutally killed his sister by the repeated blows of the dagger, for having married of her own free will.

This stems from the patriarchal mindset that pervades the Pakistani society, wherein the leader of the house is trained to be a ruler and his housemates as his subjects; as opposed to being made a role model and a friend of all members. This inherent fault in the upbringing, traditions, and the spillover effect of the same into the education system of the country manifests itself in the form of honor killing.

The discrimination that the girls are subjected to while growing up, by granting priority to the boys, inculcates a sense of superiority in the boys, who then start acting as the Gods of another’s life. Thus, where the retaliation and resistance is shown by the girl, be it in such fundamental choice as choosing the man she would spend the rest of her life with, extreme violence becomes her fate.

These failings of the society are then projected onto the religion of the majority and onto the country itself, thereby, giving a bad name to it in the world.

This is despite the fact that Islam ordains restraint in reacting to allegations and mere aspersions.

According to a hadees, Hazrat Saad Bin Uabadah asked the Prophet (P.B.U.H.),“if a person finds a man with his wife, shall it be lawful for him to kill that man?” The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) replied: 'No'.

In another hadith on another occasion, HazratSaad Bin Uabadah asked the Prophet (P.B.U.H.),“If I find a man with my wife should I wait till I bring forth four witnesses?”. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) replied,“Yes”.

This means that until and unless sexual activity is proved, one must not act upon allegations.

Moreover, Islam does not bar a woman from choosing a husband of her own choice. Au contraire, it provides that a ‘Nikah’ should not be solemnized if a woman disagrees with the prospect. This is exactly the rationale behind asking the woman thrice if she agrees to the marriage, before the same is affirmed.

The marriage by choice, unfortunately in the Muslim societies, has become analogous to illicit sexual relations, and using the Quranic wisdom which explicitly proscribes adultery, the punishment becomes a fate of the marrying subjects. However, the Quranic verse (24:2) which asserts that: “the woman and the man guilty of adultery flog each of them with a hundred strips, let not compassion move you in their case in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the last day; and let a party of believers witness their punishment” can be distinguished on multiple grounds. Foremost, the verse prescribes the punishment in equal measure for both the girls and the boys; secondly, the punishment is for a crime of adultery and not for choosing to marry of accord; thirdly, the prescribed punishment is that of flogging and not execution; and lastly, the said punishment has to be enforced through the state, and vigilante justice may not be condoned in any circumstances.

The last one vindicates that Islam posits perpetually upholding the state sovereignty, and dissuades an individual from taking law in own hands. Individuals cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to create chaos.

Although the laws are being reformed, the need is to metamorphose the society’s paradigm, and this feat cannot be achieved by unilateral state efforts. Every person would have to play his part, and educational system of the country would have to be transformed. The society would have to be remodeled from the grass root level, so that the gender inequality is stemmed. This, only, can alleviate the state from the affliction of honor killing.