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ICC Note:

This article gives some context for the condition of human rights in Pakistan. “Honor” killings show the total disregard for human rights that still prevails in parts of Pakistan . These murders are not only reserved for victims accused of illicit sexual activity – converting to Christianity is also considered a stain on the honor of the convert’s family, repaired only by the death of the convert.

AsiaNews (05/02/06) – More than 1000 people fell victim to the primitive practice of honour crimes in Pakistan in 2005. A recent report by a Karachi-based NGO, Madadgaar Help Line, claimed 1015 men and women died “in the name of honour” last year.

Despite laws in force to prevent violence against women, honour crimes, also known as karo kari, are still numerous and real figures could be even higher than those reported. The report said only 10% of honour crimes appeared in the media. Threats and intimidation kept women and relatives of victims from speaking out.

“Karo kari” is an expression made up of two terms that literally mean “black man” and “black woman” respectively, who are killed because they have been charged with having illicit relations. The practice is especially common in rural areas in the southern Sindh province. In other parts of the country, it is above all women who are accused of bad sexual conduct and killed to safeguard the family honour.

The report of the Madadgaar Help Line gives precise figures: more than 473 honour crimes were reported from Sindh province, 337 from Punjab , 129 from Balochistan and 76 from North West Frontier Province (NWFP), including 563 married women, 75 unmarried women, 373 men and six children. Eighty-five men and women were killed because they freely chose, without restrictions, their marriage partner.

In 380 cases, the perpetrators were not caught. In most cases, the killers were close relatives of the victims. The report says 146 married women were killed by their brothers, 240 by husbands, 60 by in-laws, 11 by their sisters, two by stepsons, one by a stepbrother, one by a former husband, one by her mother and 71 by other relatives.

From news items appearing in the press, the NGO estimated that in the case of unmarried women, 49 were killed by their fathers, 33 by paternal uncles, 16 by their brothers and one by her sister.

In all, 618 victims were accused of zina (fornication) and 337 were charged with alleged illicit relations. The report said 901 victims died on the spot while five received serious injuries. According to the report, 17 victims were found dead but it could not be ascertained how they were killed.