Pakistani girl defies honour killing

by Lisa Anderson | | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 26 September 2011 13:49 GMT

* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

A family is driven into poverty and their home is attacked after their refusal to commit an honour killing

A 17-year-old Pakistani girl, alleged victim of a gang rape, is petitioning the courts to bring her rapists to justice and is defying the tradition of honour killing in such cases of lost virginity, according to a report from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

“These are matters of honor and the leaders call a jirga and they declare that the woman or the couple should be killed,” Abdul Hai, a field officer for the Pakistani Human Rights Commission told Pulitzer reporters Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann.

However, Kainat Soomro, the girl who is fighting for justice for the gang rape she says happened four years ago, said her family has refused to kill her.  That refusal has caused the family’s Karachi home to be attacked a number of times and has driven them into poverty.

Complicated by the lack of forensic evidence, since few Pakistani rape victims are offered rape kits in a timely fashion, the case has devolved into a “She said, they said” scenario.

Nonetheless, Kainat has vowed to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Pakistan ranked as the third most dangerous country for women after Afghanistan and Congo in a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of 213 gender experts conducted in June.

Some 1,000 women and girls die in honour killings annually, according to Pakistan's Human Rights commission.

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