Five women, three of which were teenagers, were shot then buried alive in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan, as punishment for the crime of wanting to choose their own husbands.
The women were killed by tribesmen for the dishonor they brought upon their family and tribe by rebelling against tradition and refusing to accept arranged marriages. This week a Pakistani lawmaker, Isar Ullah Zehri, defended the actions taken by the tribesmen, and outraged fellow lawmakers by asking the Pakistani Parliament to go easy in their response to the crime.
“These are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them," said Zehri, who further justified the actions by adding "Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid."
Many Pakistani Parliament members, including Nilofar Bakhtiar, who served as minister of women’s affairs under the previous government, and who pushed for laws to convict those found guilty of honor killings, was shocked and angry at Zehri’s call for leniency. "I feel that we've gone back to the starting point again," she said. "It's really sad for me."
The attitude toward women’s rights expressed by the fundamental religious members of Pakistan’s society remind us that women everywhere will be in danger as long as religion continues to exert power over religion. A lesson we should remember here in the US.
sources: Associated Press: