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Horrible crime: 3 teenage girls + 2 other women buried alive for honor

There are some things that the free world takes so much for granted, that when you read about incidents such as the one that I am going to describe below, something cold and clammy catches you. Unfortunately, the incident below is related to the concept of ‘honor’ killing, and is seen as acceptable (or at least something that is thought to be acceptable and practiced) in some cultures. A lot of these are in the countries of South and West Asia, where there is more or a tribal / clan culture, and typically in a society which is totally male dominated. So, what is honor killing ?
From Wikipedia – “An honor killing or honour killing is generally the murder of a female member of a family by the family, when they (and maybe the wider community) believe her to have brought dishonor upon them. A woman can be targeted commonly for: refusing an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband—or committing adultery or fornication. These killings result from the perception that defense of family honour justifies killing a woman whose behavior dishonours her family.”
Read a bit about the incident:

Three teenage girls have been buried alive by their tribe in a remote part of Pakistan to punish them for attempting to choose their own husbands, in an “honour” killing case. After news of the deaths emerged, male politicians from their province, Baluchistan, defended the killings in parliament, claiming the practice was part of “our tribal custom”.
The girls, thought to have been aged between 16 and 18, were kidnapped by a group of men from their Umrani tribe. They were driven to a rural area and then injured by being shot. Then, while still alive, they were dragged bleeding to a pit, where they were covered with earth and stones, according to the findings of Human Rights Watch, the international campaigning group. Officials, speaking off the record, confirmed the killings. Some reports said that two older relatives of the girls had tried to intervene, but they too were shot and buried with the girls while still alive.

This is an absolutely despicable act, and the fact that the Government refuses to take any action on this even 6 weeks after this cold-blooded murder (in Baba Kot, a remote village in Jafferabad) makes it even more horrible. The Pakistani Government as well as the Government of Baluchistan are both run by the Pakistan People’s Party, the party that was run by Benazir Bhutto for the last 2 decades before her assassination, and the refusal to get the people involved arrested (for fear of antagonizing the tribes involved) is a political act. Even Musharraf was better than this, since in a major honor case (where a girl was raped as a means of punishment), he had got the people involved arrested and tried. In this case, what the girls wanted to do was to get married in a civil court, and this was enough to get them killed.
Unfortunately, this sort of custom (should one dignify this sort of act by calling it a custom?) happens in other countries in the region as well to varying degrees – the denial of many rights such as being able to select their own partners, being arrested for meeting people of the other sex, harassed and arrested for not wearing a full length gown, and in the more extreme cases, being ordered to be killed by tribal / caste gatherings that assume the power of life and death. These need to be combated through more education, bringing in more development; at the same time, they need to be accompanied by swift and merciless punishment for the people involved.

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