LAHORE - A runaway couple in Chakwal was killed on eve of Eid and their bodies hung from a tree. On third day of Eid, Influential landlords in Okara district gouged out eyes of a barber over alleged relationship with a woman from their family. The horrifically mutilated victim, whose ears, nose, lips and tongue were also chopped off, was struggling for life in a hospital on Thursday.  Also on wednesday, a mob killed a 50-year-old man for bringing home a “woman of ill repute” in Sanghar district of Sindh.

We are not prepared to accept we are sick, though we stink to the core; We call ourselves a nation, though we are divided into innumerable casts, clans, lingual fractions, sects and religions; We call ourselves humans, people of faith and many other names, though we are devoid of even the basic characteristics required to be qualified so. But what we don’t call ourselves is what we have become: soulless, heatless, directionless multitude of fiends.

Despite an apparent rejuvenation of higher judiciary, our judicial system remains highly ineffective leaving it to the people to decide their disputes by themselves under the ‘law of might is right’. And most often the highly despicable cases of gross injustice involve some act of ‘dishonour’. Honour – something too dear to us – has no particular definition but we understand it as something tightly entwined with our women. This undefined yet narrow perception of ‘honour’ and the overall fabric of our tribal or local justice is leading us astray but we don’t care because we think we need not care about it.

Hazrat Ali Abi Talib (RA) once said: a society based on kufr (infidelity) may survive, but the one based on injustice cannot. According to a dubious anecdote, during World War II when German forces had run over almost all of Europe, occupied France and reached the English Channel – the water gate to Britain – gravely threatening the very existence of the English state, someone asked Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill whether Britain will win the war or not, he put a counter question to his interlocutor asking, “is the judiciary in Britain operating independently and doing justice?” The answer was yes. “He said then we will win the war.” Irrespective of whether this was in fact said by Churchill or not, no one could dispute the correctness of the underlying message: the societies devoid of justice are bound to fail in the long run. If the above stated sorry stories do not make us ponder and correct the gross wrongs, we are doomed for sure. Almas Khan, belonging to the Maswal area of the Chakwal district had married Malik Mazhar Hussain’s daughter Shamim Akhtar without the consent of their families. Fearing retribution, the couple had eloped to Mardan over a month ago.

On the occasion of Eid, Akhtar’s family contacted them over the phone and assured them that they will be forgiven if they come back. A day before Eid, the couple came back to the village, after which they were killed, and their bodies were hung from a tree. Some reports said the girl’s brother Kabir had shot and killed the couple when he found the appropriate moment. The accused had been arrested by the police.

The poor barber, who was horrifically mutilated over an alleged relationship with a married woman from an influential local family, was fighting for his life at hospital on Thursday. Police said Yousaf Khan, 32, was kidnapped by seven members of a landowning family who gouged his eyes out with a knife before cutting off his ears, nose, lips and tongue. The incident took place in Mirzapur village in Okara district, around 120 kilometres east of Lahore.

“Yousaf Khan was blamed for an illicit relationship with a woman. We have arrested five culprits,” a police investigator told a foreign news agency. Riaz said he hoped a man and a woman, also involved in the grisly incident would soon be arrested. “The family said they had several times warned Yousaf over the illicit relations and they were forced to take this extreme step to punish the barber,” Riaz said.

In Tando Adam Khan tragedy, 50-year-old Ghulam Muhammad Bharoro was killed and two others were seriously injured on Wednesday when a mob attacked them and a “woman of ill repute”. Residents of Joharabad area attacked a house which they claimed was being used for “illicit activities”. They believed that a man had brought a “bad woman” to the house. After the crowd locked the door of the house, the man inside telephoned the owner of the building, Wali Muhammad, for help.

Wali arrived at the spot and opened fire, injuring a local resident. The irate mob then attacked Wali Muhammad and his two companions with sticks, axes and knives. TV news channels aired footage, apparently shot with mobile phones, that showed the mob beating the men with sticks.

Bharoro, Wali’s companion, was killed by the mob while the two other men were seriously injured. Police registered a case and arrested seven men who were allegedly involved in the incident. A six member investigation committee had been formed and according to the post mortem report, the deceased was stabbed nine times with axes and knives. The attack caused considerable tension in the area and shops and businesses remained closed on Thursday.

Three tales of four ‘honour’ casualties