The Washington Post featured today the
appalling plight of women in Pakistan who are
mutilated or killed by husbands or family
members for so-called "honor crimes," which
sometimes includes seeking a divorce.
The story of Zahida Perveen, whose husband
gouged out her eyes, and cut off her earlobes
and nose because of an alleged affair,
illustrates the horror women face in countries
such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia where
violence against women in the name of male
honor has been largely socially sanctioned.
There were 20 killings reported in Jordan in
1998, 36 honor crimes in Lebanon between
1996-1998, 200 women attacked with acid
by husbands or relatives in Bangladesh
between 1996-1998, and 52 violent crimes
against women reported in Egypt in 1997,
some of which perpetrated by the victim's
mother or sister, according to UNICEF and
national women's groups.
Women's rights advocates in Pakistan say that
many cases are never brought to trial because
police are bribed by the men's families, or the
cases are dismissed as domestic accidents.
The military ruler of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez
Musharraf, condemned honor killings as he
launched a national human rights campaign in
the hopes of increasing awareness of this
tragic issue, but women's rights advocates
point out that no steps have been taken "to
bolster investigations or prosecutions."
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
has reported that in the past two years, more
than 850 women suspected of immoral
behavior were killed by their husbands,
brothers, fathers or other relatives in Punjab,
Media Resources: The Washington Post - 8 May, 2000