Pakistan PM promises tougher stance on ‘honour’ killings

theguardian: by Jon Boone —

Call for perpetrators to be ‘punished very severely’ puts Nawaz Sharif on collision course with religious conservatives

Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, makes a speech condemning ‘honour’ killings at an Islamabad screening of A Girl in the River: the Price of Forgiveness.
Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, makes a speech condemning ‘honour’ killings at an Islamabad screening of A Girl in the River: the Price of Forgiveness. Photograph: AFP/Getty

Laws that allow families to murder their daughters in the name of “honour” and avoid punishment will be changed as soon as possible, Pakistan’s prime minister has promised.

Nawaz Sharif said the perpetrators of so-called honour killings must not be allowed to be forgiven by family members, in a challenge to sharia laws that could trigger a confrontation with religious conservatives.

“This is totally against Islam and anyone who does this must be punished and punished very severely,” Sharif told the Guardian. “Changing the law is something that needs to be done at the earliest possibility.”

Sharif was speaking after the Pakistani premiere of an Oscar-nominated short documentary about “honour” killings attended by senior cabinet members and diplomats. Its director, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, won Pakistan’s only Academy Award to date for Saving Face, her 2012 documentary about women disfigured by acid attacks.

She said toughening up existing laws would help change the climate in a country where the problem is widespread. “Before we can change mindsets we have to send the guilty to jail so people begin to understand that taking someone’s life is a big deal and merits a lengthy jail sentence,” she said.

According to the women’s campaign group the Aurat Foundation, about 1,000 Pakistani women are killed every year for “bringing shame” on their families. Some killings can be brazen, such as the 2014 killing of a woman by her familyoutside Lahore’s high court.

Although religious leaders condemn the killings, there is wide support for the tradition under Islamic law that allows murderers to avoid punishment if they are forgiven by the family of their victims, a practice that sometimes involves the payment of “blood money”.

Saba Qaiser, whose father and uncle attempted to kill by shooting her, throwing her inside a sack and into a river.
Saba Qaiser, whose father and uncle attempted to kill by shooting her, throwing her inside a sack and into a river. Photograph: SOC Films

Such payments are unnecessary when the killer is a brother, father or uncle – he can simply be forgiven by the rest of the family.

Obaid-Chinoy’s 40-minute documentary A Girl in the River tells the story of Saba Qaiser, an 18-year-old who survived being shot in the face by her father and uncle and dumped in a river.

The family said they had been humiliated and lost standing in the community after Qaiser married a man she fell in love with. They had wanted her to submit to an arranged wedding to a relative the family considered to have higher social status.

Although initially determined not to forgive her father, Qaiser ultimately pardoned him after coming under intense pressure from male community leaders in her home town of Gujranwala.

In an interview featured in the film, Qaiser’s father told Obaid-Chinoy his attempt to kill his daughter had earned him greater respect among his neighbours.

The decision by Sharif – a veteran conservative politician who tried to introduce strict sharia law in the late 1990s – to confront the religious establishment has surprised some observers.

Mufti Kifayatullah, a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, a religious party, accepted that some Islamic laws were being misused to protect killers. But he said any reform attempts would be resisted.

“Removing Islamic laws shall never be tolerated as this country came in to being in the name of Islam,” he said. “The religious parties will not allow the government to solve the problem in this way.”


7 replies

  1. It is a good start & news, from Pakistan.
    Muslims leaders need to reform the ancient Islamic laws based on primitive culture of Arab who live in desert.

    Honor killing, Blasphemy, apostasy, gay-Lesbian, cover hair, hands and feet ( burqa) etc are not Islamic law, these laws are not from Allah, but from primitive men lack of knowledge.

    Hopefully Pakistan will remove all primitive culture laws that written in the book of Hadith.

    Was salam

  2. I suggest strongly Muslim Ahmadiyah, this is a good moment to demand Pakistan PM to remove Blasphemy laws. So Muslim Ahmadiyah has a right to exist in Pakistan. Please speak up loudly.
    Allah will not change, if you do not want to change it.
    Was Salam

  3. @Ali Hidaya
    The term you frequently use “Ancient Islamic Law” is simply incorrect. In the Islamic principal killing of a human being without just cause is a serious crime punishable by death. It is also a grave sin. So “honor killings” are a crime as far as Islam is concerned. So the term “ancient customs” may be more useful.
    But your very strange and inappropriate use of language is undermining your own cause.
    It seems that you are a Muslim and wish to reform the bad practices in Islam. But your language does not say that. Your language says that you wish to abolish and cancel the verses of the quran.
    Please be careful in use of the language.
    Just because a bad practice exists in Muslim countries does not mean Islam is responsible. Consider the following:
    In the Western culture, adultery is not a crime. It is common. In fact majority of children born in these countries would be considered illegitimate according to their own religion, Christianity!! Now do you think it would be appropriate to attribute this sinful practice to Christianity?
    So please spare Islam too. Do not attribute the sins of the Muslims to Islam.
    Peace be upon you.

  4. @ CS..
    You said; “honor killings” are a crime as far as Islam is concerned. It is your thought.

    but those who kill blasphemer, and apostate is also in the name of Islam.

    They use Hadith for justifying his action. so as long as Muslim Ahmadiyah and extremist Muslism claim that the book of Hadith is second source of Islamic law. So, they still keep killing Muslim Ahmadiyah, Shia as blasphemer and apostate under the name of Islam.

    From my perspective, Blasphemy and honor killing law are the ancient Islamic law. ( Ancient Arab tradition ). should be abolished from the book of hadith, if we want to stop killing blasphemer, apostate and gay-lesbian etc.

    Was Salam

  5. The source of our religion is only one. It is the Holy Quran. There is no other book. I don’t know what you are talking about. The actions of the Prophet (saw) explained some of the teachings of the Holy Quran such as details of salat, fasting etc. Hadith was not present for the first two hundred years of Islam and yet the religion was complete.
    So what is the status of hadith?
    If you said that one should always speak the truth, your statement will be in line with the teachings of the Holy Quran. All Muslims all over the world will agree with this statement regardless of who made it. Similarly hadith is acceptable only when it is in line with the teachings of the Quran. Otherwise it carries no weight.
    Now some people like you are stuck in the hadith. My suggestion is that make your arguments from the Quran only.
    And it is not just me saying that killing of an innocent person is a crime. The Quran says it. And Quran says that the punishment for such a rime is death. You know it, but it seems hard for you to accept it.
    I am glad that you have used the term ancient Arab culture. It is much more accurate.
    By the way, honor killings happen in India and hindu do it. Honor killing is done in African countries too. The Christians do it.
    So instead of losing our mind, let us understand the problem. It is a cultural issue and a result of lack of education. The educated parts of Muslim society do not approve of this practice.
    And last but not the least, I and Ahmadiyya Muslim Community support the efforts to reform the unjust laws of Pakistan..
    We have learned from the Holy Quran to co operate in matters which are right and oppose whaty is wrong. (both peacefully)

  6. @ CS–It seems to me that your right hand hold Al Quran, and your left hand hold the book of Hadith. Right?

    You really confuse me and readers here. One hand you say, only Al Quran as a source of Islamic teaching.==>>

    “The source of our religion is only one. It is the Holy Quran. There is no other book.’

    Other hand you say differently, ==>.Similarly hadith is acceptable only when it is in line with the teachings of the Quran.

    Extremist Muslim, Isis, Taliban say the same as what you think.

    For example; kill Gay-lesbian.
    Prophet said, “If you have people who do act like the people of Lut (liwath) then kill the perpetrators.” (Narrated by Abu Daud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

    Al Quran say;
    You come to men lustfully instead of women. No, you are a people who cross the limits.” (81) The answer of his people was no other than to say, “Expel them from your town. They are a people who pretend too much purity.” (82) So, We saved him and his family, except his wife. She was one of those who remained behind. 26 (83) And We rained down upon them a rain. So, look! How was the fate of the sinners! (84)

    Anyone who changes his religion (out of Islam, apostasy) then kill. Wherever you meet them, then kill them. Because real people are killed they will get a reward at the Judgment Day “Bukhari

    HADITH;” That there is a Jewish woman who often denounce and vilify the Prophet . (Due to the offense ) , then the woman had been strangled to death by a man. It turns out that the Messenger of Allah justifies his blood ” . (Abu Dawud )

    If anyone contends with the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that becoming to men to Faith, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell,-what an evil refuge!QS 4:115

    Al Imam Ibn Kathir said: “Let anyone who insults the Prophet, both physically and spiritually, in his fear maligned form of infidelity, hypocrisy, heresy, a painful punishment in the world, he was executed, imprisoned.”

    So, Extremist Muslim,terrorist follow Imam Ibn Kathir’s interpretation to justify to kill Apostate, Blasphemer, and those who insult Islam, rip Holy Al Quran etc.

    Dear CS,
    What do think about Imam Ibn Kathir’s interpretation. He ordered to kill blasphemer (Ahmadiyah,Shia,Gay_lesbian Kafir etc) under the name of Islam,( Al Quran and Hadith ).

    Do you think that all hadith above are acceptable with the teachings of the Quran.?

    If you say that those hadith above are authentic with Al Quran, so, the extremist Muslim will continue to punish or kill Blasphemer, apostate and heresy ( Ahmadiyah,shia,gay-Lesbian etc ).

    If you say; NO, Muslim Ahmadiyah have to declare publicly that those Hadith are invalid or false and have to be removed from the book of Hadith.
    The book of Hadith is not the word of Allah, but the word of men. So, the book of Hadith can be corrected and reprinted again.

    Dear CS, the rule or law should be clear, if not, will confuse people. if a law is not clear, must be removed from public and fix it.

    Was salam

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