The Honor Killing That Never Happened: A Cautionary Tale
Like many others who were carefully selected, I, too, recently received a very shocking email from one Arsalan Akhtar (email@example.com). He accused a rather distinguished Pakistani public figure of having honor killed his daughter. The email also claimed that the Pakistani media had covered this killing up at the request of very high government officials. I immediately tried to contact Arsalan Akhtar, but to no avail.
Many bloggers (who shall remain nameless) reproduced this email without confirming whether it was true or not.
Given what we know about Pakistan the entire episode seems entirely possible. Pakistan is a very dangerous place for women. Daughter and wife beatings are normalized, not criminalized. Acid is thrown right into the faces of young girls and wives who are seen as even slightly "disobedient.” Recently, an exceptionally beautiful Pakistani wife who had suffered this awful fate finally killed herself. She had endured over three dozen plastic surgeries on her face in Italy. Her suffering was simply too great. The fiend who did this to her was her husband and because he comes from a rich and powerful family, he has never been charged. Pakistan is a place where anything terrible can and probably has happened.
It is difficult to accurately estimate the number of honor killings that take place in Pakistan as the vast majority are believed to go unreported. In 2010, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 800 women were killed for honor in Pakistan. This figure likely represents only the tip of the iceberg.
According to the Aurat Foundation, a Pakistani human rights organization: "At least 675 Pakistani women and girls were murdered during the first nine months of the calendar year 2011 for allegedly defaming their family’s honor.” Almost 77 percent of such honor cases ended in acquittals.
A similar study, published in 2011 by the Research and Development for Human Resources Women Rights Cell, found that 605 women and 115 men in Sindh, Pakistan were honor murdered or murdered in domestic disputes that same year. (...)