A Pakistani family is under brutal assault for refusing to murder their daughter for being a victim of rape. The case serves to underscore Pakistan’s malevolent role as the world epicenter of “honor killings.”
Kainat Soomro was 13-years old when she was kidnapped in 2007 near the Pakistan town of Dadu and viciously gang raped for three days by four Muslim men. While fortunate enough to finally escape her captors, Kainat’s ordeal was tragically just beginning.
Despite being the victim of rape, Kainat was instead declared to be a kari, or “black female,” by tribal elders in her town for having the temerity to have sex outside of marriage. As a consequence of that decree, Kainat’s family was expected to subject her to an honor killing.
However, despite the pressure to murder Kainat, her family refused. As Kainat later pointed out, “It is the tradition, but if the family doesn’t permit it, then it won’t happen. My father, my brothers, my mom didn’t allow it.”
Instead, her family opted for a saner and less barbaric route by seeking to have Kainat’s rapists prosecuted for their heinous acts. Unhappily for the Soomro family, that decision would subject the family to years of sustained attacks and beatings by fanatical fellow Muslims, assaults that eventually drove the Soomros into a grim state of poverty.
Unfortunately, despite the Soomro family’s heroic efforts to spare their daughter’s life, Kainat’s rapists were acquitted in May 2010 after a local judge declared her sole testimony as an “alleged rape survivor” to be insufficient. Regrettably, the anguish of that court decision only deepened a month later when Kainat’s brother was murdered by unknown assailants, ostensibly for the sin of having the audacity to defend his sister during her trial.
Now, 17-years-old, Kainat and her family remain undeterred. To that end, they are petitioning higher Pakistani courts to appeal the ruling in her case. However, beset by severe pressure to withdraw her appeal, the Soomros remain under attack by men affiliated with her rapists, men who recently vandalized their apartment, beat the father and brother with iron rods and threatened to kill Kainat.
Sadly, the decision by the Soomros to resist community efforts and not kill their daughter remains the exception to the rule in Pakistan. The sad reality is that more often than not, Pakistani families stand eagerly ready to murder their wives and daughters for any “damage” they may have done to the perceived “honor” of the family.
That “damage” can occur when a woman has the misfortune of being raped; marries a man of her own choosing; has any contact with an unrelated male; dates a Christian; openly flirts; or adopts Western ways of dress and behavior.
While in most cases husbands, fathers or brothers of the offending women in question commit the murders, in some cases, tribal councils decide that the woman should be killed and, as such, send men to execute her.
According to the United Nations, about 5,000 honor killings take place each year, most of which take place in Muslim countries in the Middle East and South Asia. For its part, Pakistan accounts for nearly 20 percent of those killings, nearly 1,000 a year, the most of any nation. Honor killing incidents in Pakistan reported in 2011 have included one girl burned alive, five girls dying from acid attacks, and four girls tortured to death.
[This is an extract from Frank Crimi's the same titled article published in his web site http://politicallyunbalanced.com * October 10, 2011]