Hayat is a good brother, that is, if we are to believe his family. His younger brother agreed with what his brother did and insists that he would have done the same. His uncle too concurs claiming that the situation demanded a ‘direct shoot(ing)’. To put an end to any questions on how good of a brother Hayat is, his father, Inayat Khan, talking to a media channel said this: I will not lodge an FIR. What is done is done. If my son has done something, how can it be wrong? You can coax one once or twice but when they refuse to correct their ways, what else can be done? Of course you murder. You have no choice but to.

So he did. Hayat Khan stabbed his sister about 4 or 5 times with a kitchen knife, and left her outside the house to bleed to death. People gathered around and made video as Sumera, Hayat’s sister, writhed silently in unimaginable pain. As should a good brother, he covered her from her head to two with a scarf and a blanket. Her death was for honour, she should have died too in that state. As people debated whether they should take Sumera to the hospital or wait for the ambulance (which of course, unsurprisingly so, came extremely late), her bloodied body showed faint signs of life courtesy her broken and twisted fingers which shivered in their awkward states. While she breathed her last, maybe giving in to the blood loss or giving in to the harrowing pain, her brother, the good brother, sat next to her playing games on his mobile. The video made by the onlookers and uploaded on YouTube shows Hayat looking straight into the camera as the lens turns towards him. You don’t see any regret on his face. He is calm. He is proud of himself.

As an unprecedented move and indeed in stark escape from the normalcy of murder cases, the police took upon itself to lodge an FIR. This was done, it was elaborated, to see to it that Hayat does not escape the repercussion of his actions due to the many loopholes in the Pakistani judicial system- one being the ability and power given to the next of kin to forgive the murderer. As has been stated by their father, indeed very brashly so, he would have forgiven his son. The state is now pursuing the case against Hayat. As of the latest news, he has been sent to a four day remand at the behest of a judicial magistrate’s ruling. What happens next is for only time to tell.

Let’s go back a few months. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy wins another Oscar. As the world celebrates her achievement, typically so, Pakistan and Pakistanis start defamation campaigns against her. Sitting on the sidelines, as a keen observer, there was no escaping the realisation of how deeply rooted our misgivings are. Individuals, otherwise educated in some of the top academic institutions of the country, had words of disdain for the director. Expats were an even bigger disappointment. Somehow, all of those Pakistanis who were criticising Sharmeen (and this was a huge number) had missed the point of the documentary. Or, maybe, they did not even care about the issue. Much like Malala’s case, all that mattered at the end of the day was the image of the country presented to the world at large. The problem highlighted was not a problem at all. Pakistanis, so it seems, have learnt that a problem is not really a problem unless it can be swept under the carpet. Women rights issues are the easiest problems when it comes to sweeping under the carpet. Sharmeen should have not been loud about things that had to be hushed about. Sharmeen hence, and almost everyone of these honourable patriots agreed on this, was a traitor. She was no hero.

Sharmeen probably did not care about these opinions for her voice had reached the ears that mattered. The Prime Minister had had a special screening of the documentary done in the PM house. After the viewing, he reiterated his commitment to plugging the holes in the laws that allow honour killing to exist. Much like other of his promises, he has fallen short of doing just that.

The patriots insisted that honour killing was not as big of a problem as highlighted by Sharmeen. Unfortunately for them, the facts do not agree with them. As of this year, Pakistan sees 1,000 honour killings yearly, a figure measured by the Aurat Foundation. However, it will be no surprise if the said quantum fails to account for the actual number, one which would include the many unreported cases hushed in and forgotten about within the family. As of the Human Right’s Commission, the trend has actually increased in Pakistan by about 15%. As pointed out by Huma Yusuf, this, if anything, highlights the improvement in reporting of incidents. Nothing more. The society has always been cursed. It is us who have only recently woken up to the debacle we live in.

Sumera’s maternal grandmother too had no regret on what had happened and this is more alarming than the words of the men of her family. What policy can challenge prejudices that are so deeply ingrained in the societal psychology of this nation? Who can be the saviour to this sorry lot? The optimists amongst us insistently wait for a messiah. Here is hoping that he is discovered soon lest society crumbles onto itself, which, in retrospect, does not seem that bad after all.