Islamabad - Honour killing was a Mediterranean phenomenon that reached to this region after travelling from Middle Eastern countries and now considered a South Asian custom in the western world. A legislature Nafisa Shah stated this while addressing a seminar titled ‘Honour Crimes and Legislative Response’ arranged by Shaheed Bhutto Foundation at SZABIST campus on Monday.

She also quoted a case study from her recently published book ‘Honour Unmasked’ by Oxford publications, which is actually her Doctorate thesis with the Oxford University.She explained that the cases in the name of honour involved a very complex set of laws and traditional mechanisms, where oftentimes common or Islamic laws were also put in abeyance, just to restore the so-called prestige attached with the honour.

“On this, from local police to judiciary to tribal Jirga system operators, all late or sooner reach the same-page that robs of the liberty and protections, even provided to citizens in several articles of our law of the land,” she said. She deplored that recently introduced Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) may further complicate matters. She said: “We are still not out of the clutches of Hudood Ordinance and its discriminatory clutches.”

In his keynote address, Naeem Mirza, Chief Executive Officer Aurat Foundation told the audience that the crimes in the name of honour were privatised in the days of General Zia ul Haq with the introduction of Hudood Laws by arbitrarily defining laws at the cost of persecuting more marginalised segments. “This practice is continuing till to-date,” he added. For this, he urged the legislators to engage media and civil society segments, for broader legislation that can meet the emerging needs of current and future times.

A women rights activist Rehana Shaikh shared the latest date on honour killings and other crimes in the name of honour throughout country where every day three cases at an average were being reported. She, however, added that if unreported cases be added then this number could double which was most alarming and second largest number of casualties after the war on terror in country. Earlier, in his welcoming note Sikandar Ali Hullio, Chief Executive Shaheed Bhutto Foundation, thanked the speakers and audience by sharing his concerns that honour crimes were increasing alarmingly across country.