A pregnant Pakistani mom was the victim of a so-called “honor killing” on Thursday, according to Pakistani police and her grieving husband. Muqaddas Tawfeeq was eight months pregnant with her second child and just 22 years old when she was brutally dragged away from a maternity checkup by her mother. According to Khalid Tawfeeq, the young Pakistani woman’s husband, she was taken from the clinic to her maternal home.
It was there that the pregnant Pakistani mom became the victim of an honor killing, beaten and her throat ultimately slit by her brother, Mohammed Adeel Bashir, reports CNN.
According to reports, local Pakistani police have issued arrest warrants for the young mom’s own mother and brother in connection with her brutal killing, something that presumably took place because her family never approved of her marriage three years prior.
“They hit her with wooden rods and when that didn’t kill her, they slit her throat. I want justice, I beseech the prime minister to help me, I want justice.”
The suspected murderers of the pregnant Pakistani mom are on the run, says her bereaved husband.
Unfortunately, so-called honor killings are fairly common in Pakistani culture. While, in recent years, the national government of Pakistan has officially declared such killing to be murder, many believe the government hasn’t done enough to prevent or punish them.
“The provincial governments have been fully empowered under law to treat cases of ‘honor’ killings as acts of murder.”
Honor killings are largely tribal in nature, with victims (such as this young Pakistani mom) who are perceived by their family or fellow villagers as having shamed or otherwise brought dishonor upon them. In the first five months of 2016 alone, according to reports, Pakistan recorded 212 of these honor killings. Most commonly, the victims are female, such as this young, pregnant Pakistani mom. Only 50 of the Pakistani honor killing victims included in that number were men, and just under 40 of them were children.
“Now we are seeing mothers being killed as well? The law will not spare those who have killed Pakistan’s sons and daughters in the name of what they call ‘honor.'”
Director of the gender studies center at Quaid-i-Azam University, Farzana Bari, says that the Pakistani government (both at the national and local levels) have utterly failed to handle such crimes. In most cases, these honor killings are premeditated well in advance.
For example, the pregnant Pakistani mom who was killed on Thursday was snatched from a prenatal visit at a clinic. Clearly, her mother and brother knew her schedule, planned a time to go grab her, and dragged her to her death.
Nobody at the clinic stepped in to prevent her from being abducted by her mother, despite the violence levied against her, and despite the fact that she was clearly a married woman expecting a child soon.
“The criminal justice system is completely not working very effectively. At the local level people go to the tribal council for their issues.”
While these honor killings are a threat to all Pakistani citizens, it is Pakistani women who most often suffer the brunt of the Islamic nation’s tribal brand of justice. Roughly 1,100 Pakistani women were killed by their relatives in 2015. Over 900 sexual violence crimes were reported by women in Pakistan in 2015. Almost 800 Pakistani women were reported to have either committed suicide or attempted to do so last year.
It’s not just family members that Pakistani women have to fear. Just last month, a young Pakistani school teacher was burned alive in her own home by the father of a rejected suitor. Arrests were made in that case, in which the young woman was beaten and killed in her own family’s home while watching a younger sibling, but such arrests do little to curb the ever-present violence Pakistani women are subjected to.
What do you think? Should Pakistan change the way it handles and prosecutes honor killing situations to prevent instances like the one endured by this pregnant Pakistani mom?