By Hina Bashir.
Finally court gave its judgment, Parveen Bibi mother of teenager Zeenat Bibi has been sentenced to death on the charge of killing her own daughter in the name of honour killing. Zeenat got married against the will of her parents and started to live with her husband, but one day before she got killed by her mother she was asked to come back home to get married with the agreement of parents. But she doesn’t know her fate.
When Zeenat came home, she was tied up to the bed and doused with fuel then set on fire by her own mother. Her own family members stopped neighbors to enter the house when she cried for help. After burning her daughter, she ran into street and shouted that she had killed the girl for misbehaving and disgracing their family name. The crime of Zeenat Bibi was that she married a man of different ethnicity. According to local police report, the mother of girl has confessed to killing her daughter with the help of her son and she confessed that she has no regret for killing her.
Zeenat’s brutal murder sent shockwaves across the country and triggered the memory of thousands of women killed by their relatives for bringing shame on their families. According to independent Human right commission of Pakistan women’s killing and violence against women is rampant in Pakistan. According to media reports there were about 1000 cases of honor killing in 2014, almost 869 cases in 2013 and there were 1100 cases of honor killing of women in Pakistan in 2015. And according to recent media reports there were 231 cases of murder only in Punjab and 39 cases were only in Baluchistan in 2016. Now we are starting our 2017 with same threatening and violent incidents and with same stories.
This gender base violence on the bases of so called honor is one of leading issue of Pakistan. Pakistani society is divided into two thread, both threads are highly extremists. One does not want to break the socially constructed bond which has poisoned the mind of people and other part is leaving behind all the traditional norms which represent the true culture of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
I do not want to blame law and court but I am going to blame the government because the main cause of all this saddening condition is “lack of education”. One part of our society getting higher education based on foreign criteria and other part of society is deprived of their basic education. Between these two extremists we are losing the real picture of Pakistan and its basic values. One is getting foreign education based on private school system and other part is getting nothing but developing mindset based on socially constructed values and both of them are not representing the true picture of Pakistan.
Why every month we hear the same news of woman killing on the basis of honor with different victim….? Why on every turn we see woman victimized by men inside and outside the house….? Why we consider woman as a custodian of man’s honor….? Why every time we look at court to see that what will be the action of court against the killing of woman…? Court cannot change the mind set of people. These laws cannot give awareness to people, because majority of the people in Pakistan do not know about their basic rights as a citizen given by court, then how could people know about the laws against biggest crimes such as honor killing. Laws cannot bring change because they are only applicable inside the court. Laws cannot bind or change the thinking of people. We are at a stage, where we need “education” in order to save society from these vicious crimes. Education and awareness is the one and only solution of these cruel acts. On the name of awareness our government, organizations, and institutions related to human rights arrange conference, raise campaign, and go for protest. What is the advantage of these so called awareness campaign because these superficial campaigns are not changing the mind of people. We need to change the whole mindset of people through education. Making strict laws is not the solution of these problems. We need to eradicate the roots of this social evil which is possible only through education and awareness.
We have history of laws against “honor killing” and every time we stress on court to make strict laws to stop these paining incidents but no one talk about the solution of these incidents. Court can give punishment but it cannot stop the thinking of people. It cannot change the mind of Zeenat Bibi’s mother who killed her daughter and announced that she is not guilty and has no regrets for killing her daughter. It cannot give them awareness which is possible only through education. In order to change the mind set of society, we have only one powerful tool that is awareness. And awareness is possible only through education.
Writer is an English literature student and hails from Islamabad.