This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Pakistan's Tribal Justice

"They said she must be burnt alive to make a lesson for other girls."
"[The bride] didn’t obey her father’s will and did a love marriage at court with a guy,"
"Despite the requests and pleas from her parents, villagers forcibly brought her out and set her afire while roping her to the seat of the vehicle."
Saeed Wazir, regional police chief, Abbottabad, Pakistan

"Nothing that the authorities do now can bring back the young victim, but they should at least now atone for their inaction by seeing to it that justice is done in this case and conditions that allow such incidents to take place are confronted."
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Ambreen Riasat's grave is seen in the graveyard in the village of Makol outside Abbottabad, Pakistan. 13 members of a Pakistani tribal council will face trial for burning and killing Riasat after she helped one of her friends elope.
Ambreen Riasat's grave is seen in the graveyard in the village of Makol outside Abbottabad, Pakistan. 13 members of a Pakistani tribal council will face trial for burning and killing Riasat after she helped one of her friends elope.  (CAREN FIROUZ / REUTERS)
Abbottabad, in Pakistan's Northern Province, roughly 70 miles north of Islamabad, has been in the news for other happenings aside from the most recent, that of a tribal council condemning a young girl to death for disobeying tribal custom in Islamist values. It is the locus of a military academy, Kakul. And a mere's stone's throw from Kakul is a compound that was once the specially-built home of the bin Laden family.

Where an audacious Navy Seal helicopter invasion located Osama bin Laden and expeditiously neutralized the al-Qaeda leader.

On this most recent occasion that has brought Abbottabad to international notice it is a different matter altogether, an internal one highlighting the plight of Pakistan's women and girls should they dare to step out of line. The kind of punishment meted out by tribal councils [loya jirgas] bear no resemblance to civil authority anywhere else in the world other than equally primitive societies.

A young girl, taken from the confines of her home on the authority of a village council which had decided that she must die as a warning to other young girls who might possibly disobey the Islamist patriarchal customs that keep women in thrall to male demands, was strangled, and set afire.

The crime that 17-year-old Ambreen Riasat was said to have committed was to have helped a school friend and her boyfriend elope. One of the thirteen people detained as suspects by Pakistan police, is an area councillor, Pervez Gul Zaman, who stated he intended to "make the girl an example", in agreement with the tribal council's decision that no village girls would henceforth seek to emulate the defiance of custom that Ambreen aided, on threat of a barbaric end.

Her father had rushed to the village from the port city of Karachi when he heard of his daughter's death, to demand her killers be punished by the same method they had used to take his daughter's life:
"We want the culprits to be burned alive at the local chowk [village square]."

And he defended his wife from accusations that she, along with other family members had stood by, cheering as their daughter's life was taken. Others asserted that Ambreen's mother seemed unmoved by her daughter's absence, and made no effort to find out whose body was found in a burned-out van.

Pakistani police escort blindfolded suspects accused of killing and setting fire to a teen girl to a court in Abbottabad on Thursday. (Shakeel Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images)

Government figures state that a thousand women are killed annually in honour killings in the country. And according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 8,694 girls and women have died in so-called honor killings between 2004 and 2015. The death of those accused of bringing dishonour to a family, a clan or a social custom, restores honour tainted by the injudicious impudence of women and girls who feel they can live their lives as they wish.

Of the total number of deaths attributed to honour killings, an estimated fourth of the cases involved the death of a minor. Although most occurring most commonly in remote areas and rural areas of the country, honor killings still take place even in larger, more 'progressive' (civil?) cities.

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