WDF demands justice for the young girls killed in the name of ‘honour’ in Waziristan
Women’s bodies are not repositories of family honor
WDF demands that the government exercise its discretion under Section 311 of PPC to refuse such compromises in cases categorized as ‘honour killing’
Islamabad 17th May, 2020: In a joint press release leaders of Wome Democratic Front (WDF) Alya Bakhshal, Ismat Shahjahan, Mumtaz Tajik and Nargis Khattak strongly condemned the killing of two young women in the name of “honor”. They said that it’s outrageous how incidents of patriarchal violence against women largely go unnoticed by those in power. Ismat Shahjahan said that “This incident is the embodiment of patriarchal violence and the overgrown patriarchy which is responsible for taking the lives of many women. Women’s bodies are not repositories of family honor. The state must respond and act in order to bring an end to this on-going patriarchal violence against women.”
A non-consensual and inappropriate video of the young women has been circulating online for a few days, which is believed to have been the reason of their violent murder. Another girl, who was also seen in the video, is currently missing. FIR has been registered in Shaktoi. Mumtaz Tajik, leader WDF KP, said that the powerful men in the area who incited violence against the young women also enjoy state patronage, we demand that the men involved in inciting violence, as well as those who leaked a private video despite knowing the sensitivities should be taken to account”. She further added that “domestic violence still largely remains an acceptable norm in our society, where women’s bodies and lives are considered property of the men of the family”
Patriarchal violence against women has been on the rise globally during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Pakistan has seen a surge in these cases. In the first month of the lockdown, 8 women alone were killed in Swat, while trivial issues have led to incidents of patriarchal violence against women in Sheikhupura, Karachi, Hyderabad, Peshawar and other areas. Although multiple legislations aiming to prevent patriarchal violence are in place, the inability of the state to strictly enforce these legislations, and loopholes in the law that allow perpetrators to be forgiven by the family of the deceased, makes it easier to bypass the law. “The laws in place take a protectionist approach rather than a criminalization approach towards the patriarchal violence. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa still does not have a law criminalizing violence within the private sphere. Although legislation alone cannot guarantee an end to patriarchal violence but the absence and opposition of a bill criminalizing domestic violence reeks of our anti-women biases.”said Nargis Khattak, leader of WDF Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“State plays a critical role in the construction of a “good woman” and places family as the site of construction and disciplining of “daughters” in to willful, subservient and good daughters, this has led to notions about women’s bodies as repositories of community honor. The slogans raised during women’s marches about their right over their bodies is precisely against this pervasive culture of exercising control over women’s bodies in the name of honor” said Tooba Syed, secretary information WDF.
WDF demands that the killers, and those who motivated their murder including the person who leaked the video must be held accountable and punished. “We believe that those openly threatening the families, if they fail to punish those in the video, with the dated idea of a ‘collective punishment’ for the tribe under the Jirga system, are complicit in inciting violence against the young women. We understand that these appeals to the collective honor of a tribe often play out on women’s bodies, and we reject such cultural notions of justifiable brutality. We demand that the government must immediately enact stringent laws against anti-woman killings, and ensure that perpetrators do not escape justice on the pretext of the waiver or compounding of the right of qisas by the wali of the victim/s”. WDF demands that the government exercise its discretion under Section 311 of Pakistan Penal Code to refuse such compromises in cases categorized as ‘honour killing’.
WDF calls upon the progressive youth especially the left and the nationalist political groups to come together to bring an end to the patriarchal norms within the culture as well as the dehumanization of women through patriarchy. “We believe no political struggle is complete without centering the issue of patriarchal violence in its agenda.”
Secretary Information and Publishing WDF
WDF is a socialist-feminist political organisation, aiming to bring together struggles of women against all forms of patriarchy, capitalism, feudalism, national oppression, state oppression, war and terrorism, and religious extremism. We stand for women’s emancipation and social justice, people’s democracy, peace, secularism, and non-aligned foreign policy. We are not an NGO. We are a resistance movement running with membership fee, and we do not accept any financial support from any government/non-government agency within or outside Pakistan.