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Honor Killings
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Honor Killings - September 12, 2008, 11:54 AM

Posted: Friday, September 12, 2008 8:37 AM
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Islamabad, Pakistan

By NBC News’ Shahid Qazi and Carol Grisanti
BABAKOT, Pakistan – In a tangle of bushes and trees outside a remote village in southwest Pakistan, six close male relatives of three teenage girls dug a 4-foot wide by 6-foot deep ditch, on a sweltering night in mid-July, and allegedly buried the girls alive.
The girls' crime: they dared to defy the will of their fathers and the customs of their tribe and choose their own husbands. The mother of one of the girls and the aunt of another were shot and killed while begging for the girls’ lives, according to local media reports.
The incident has touched off widespread condemnation from human rights groups, but also a sturdy defense from local officials. "This action was carried out according to tribal traditions," said Israrullah Zehri, a senator representing Balochistan in the upper house of Pakistan’s parliament in the capital Islamabad. "These are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them," he said.
We visited the scene and interviewed locals to try and learn more about this gruesome crime.

Daring to defy tradition
Saarang Mastoi is the local journalist who broke the story. He told us that on July 14, Fatima, Fauzia and Jannat Bibi, aged 16 to 18, got into a taxi in Babakot, a small village of farmers and sheepherders in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, and drove about one hour to the village of Usta Mohammed to meet their boyfriends. The girls were chatting in the back of the taxi about their plans to meet the boys at the local restaurant and then go to a civil court to marry them.
The taxi driver dropped the girls off and then drove straight back to Babakot to inform their families about the secret plans he had overheard in the back of his taxi, according to Mastoi.
The girls’ decision to elope came after their male relatives and tribal elders had refused them permission to marry the boys of their choice because they were from another tribe.
The families of the girls belong to the wealthy feudal Umrani tribe in Balochistan. The uncle of one of the girls is a minister in the Balochistan provincial government and a deputy leader of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), according to an investigation into the incident by Human Rights Watch.

Traditional justice
Almost immediately after the taxi driver’s return, a posse of male relatives, including fathers, uncles and brothers, set out from Babakot for the village of Usta Mohammed to bring the girls home. The men arrived in land cruiser jeeps bearing Balochistan government license plates – one belonging to the district mayor, according to Human Rights Watch.
The girls were kicked, punched and then pushed into the vehicles at gunpoint, Mastoi, the journalist, said. Once back at home in Babakot, the girls were beaten again and interrogated by their fathers and uncles for almost one hour before their "verdict" was announced.
They would be killed – buried alive.
The girls were dragged into vehicles and taken to the end of a back road in Babakot accompanied by two female relatives, according to media reports. The men dug ditches and ordered the girls to be thrown in. When the female relatives saw the ditches, they tried to intervene and begged for the girls’ lives, according to local media reports.
There was "pandemonium at the site," according to the findings of the Asian Human Rights Commission, and a tribal elder gave orders to shoot the two older women. They died immediately and were thrown into the wide ditch. The three girls, who were wounded in the gunfire but still alive, were then thrown in and covered with sand and mud.
In Pakistan’s rural areas, male tribal councils decide the fate of women who bring dishonor to their family. In 2004, President Pervez Musharraf outlawed the practice, known as "honor killings" – violations of the law carry the death penalty. But the law is impossible to enforce because this centuries old custom for dealing with women is protected by powerful feudal landlords and tribal elders.
Mastoi, the local reporter, told NBC News that "powerful people" from the Umrani tribe had threatened him and warned him of consequences if he continued to report the story. He said that everyone in the village knew what happened and shortly after the murders, a couple of shepherds in the area had taken him to see the actual burial site. "Now everyone is too afraid to talk," he said.

‘It’s a man’s world’
Only about 7,000 people live in Babakot, a run down and dusty place about 200 miles south of the provincial capital, Quetta. Donkey carts carrying women, children and poor farmers give way on the road to the shiny 4X4 Land Cruisers of the wealthy landowners and tribal chiefs.
Ali Baksh, a frail shepherd with a thin scruffy white beard, has been tending his sheep in the neighboring district of Naseerabad since he was seven years old. When asked what he thought about the murders in Babakot, he stared blankly for a few seconds and then he said, "I am proud of our Balouch traditions and it was the right punishment for those girls who defied the will of their fathers."
Public outcry by human rights groups and lawmakers has forced the federal government in Islamabad to open an investigation into what happened in Babakot six weeks ago.
But the Asian Human Rights Commission believes a full accounting of the events may be impossible: "The Balochistan police have removed three of the five bodies and started destroying any evidence that might prove useful to an eventual investigation."
Back in Babakot, the reaction of an elderly woman to questions about the story seemed to confirm the human rights groups' fears. When asked about the story, she refused to give her name, sighed and waved off any hope for justice in this case. "It’s a man’s world and these things will never stop," she said.


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September 12, 2008, 12:07 PM

Holy FUCK! I can't believe that was their decision. Maybe the "strategic" missions in Pakistan will rid the country of these assholes. Seriously, fucking ridiculous.
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September 12, 2008, 02:11 PM

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September 12, 2008, 02:12 PM

This is PURELY cultural, has nothing to do with Islamic teachings. A lot of cultural societies do weird (in this case really messed up) things. In some Hindu villages in India for example the wife has to burn herself alive if the husband dies.


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September 12, 2008, 02:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by kin
This is PURELY cultural, has nothing to do with Islamic teachings. A lot of cultural societies do weird (in this case really messed up) things. In some Hindu villages in India for example the wife has to burn herself alive if the husband dies.
I don't think anyone mentioned Islam.
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September 12, 2008, 02:17 PM

Most male dominated cultures or religions tend to be brutal... especially toward women, who are perceived as inferior.

The same principals as the Salem witch trials.


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September 12, 2008, 02:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by karrotx
I don't think anyone mentioned Islam.
good


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September 12, 2008, 03:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by karrotx
I don't think anyone mentioned Islam.
I am gonna go ahead and address religion as a whole...most cultures derive their believes from religion or a sect of a religion if you trace it back to their roots...so I would blame what these idiots did on religion

IMO, ALL religions are worthless and can suck these
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September 12, 2008, 06:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by curryfizzle
I am gonna go ahead and address religion as a whole...most cultures derive their believes from religion or a sect of a religion if you trace it back to their roots...so I would blame what these idiots did on religion

IMO, ALL religions are worthless and can suck these
well, since we are talking about our opinions here, IMO you are wrong.


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September 12, 2008, 07:34 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by karrotx
I don't think anyone mentioned Islam.
Actually Duc likes to find stuff that is related to Islam for some reason and there is no reason to buy into it his attempts to stir the pot.

Its like me bringing up what the Germans did to the Jews, or the forefathers did to local indians, and African Americans. These crimes were not performed as a cultural tradition but for other reasons. In any case, its useless to judge other countries cultures and traditions whether they are right or wrong. Hell, we kiss China's ass and owe them more money than any other nation on the planet even with their long history of communism, suppression of human rights, and support of other socialist countries in the region in obtaining nuclear weapons... Trying to find fault in people, countries, religions, socioeconomic groups is easy and after a while it is like beating a


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September 12, 2008, 08:14 PM

I like to hold the belief that it is not our culture and it is not our business, stay the hell out of it! The world is messed up, VERY messed up, and it is not our place to stick our noses where they don't belong and police the world.


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September 12, 2008, 08:27 PM

one less, one less...
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September 12, 2008, 08:38 PM

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September 12, 2008, 08:51 PM

I heard about this story at another website. Again....Islam has nothing to do with it. The sad part about this is (being a citizen of Pakistan myself)....that no one does anything about it. They 'traitors' actually get away with it - Corruption at its best. Also...keep in mind that this happens mostly in rural-tribal/village areas.....which is NORTH and WEST of Pakistan....majority of the armed forces/police are scared to go there themselves - along with educated civlians.

Its the same if you go to most 'SOUTHERN' rural/tribal areas or in 'CENTRAL' areas - hell even TEXAS is part of it.


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September 12, 2008, 09:05 PM

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