Pakistan honour killings reach 675 this year
At least 675 honour killings have been carried out in Pakistan during the first nine months of this year, according to a human rights group which is calling for urgent steps to protect women and girls.
By Rob Crilly, Islamabad4:17PM GMT 20 Dec 2011
The shocking tally highlights the scale of violence against women in conservative, rural parts of the Muslim country, where rape victims are routinely sentenced to death by village elders and murderers can escape court by paying blood money.
Zohra Yusuf, chairperson of The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said too many cases were dismissed by police as private, family affairs.
"It is one of the signs of a paternalistic and feudal society," she said.
"The government introduced a law in 2006 to check this and at least more cases are now being registered.
"But the status of women in these societies means that anything they do is seen as a reflection of the family's honour and that there is some sympathy for the perpetrators of these murders."
The murders include at least 71 victims under the age of 18, a figure expected to rise by the time the group publishes its report in February.
About 450 of the women killed from January to September were accused of having "illicit relations" and 129 of marrying without permission.
Some victims were raped or gang-raped before being killed, according to the preliminary report. At least 19 were killed by their sons, 49 by their fathers and 169 by their husbands.
Many cases are dismissed when relatives of the victim accept "diyat"or blood money from the accused.
Campaigners say they are encouraged by two laws passed last week, stiffening the penalty for acid attacks and criminalising practices such as marrying off young girls to settle tribal disputes, but that there is still a long way to go.
Doctors at Multan Hospital were on Tuesday trying to repair the face of Salma Bibi, 18, who was brought to them after her husband allegedly sliced off her nose.
She told relatives he believed she was about to run away with another man.