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International Women's Day celebration, a different way

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Really difficult, from where to start and how to start? Yesterday the whole world was celebrating International Women’s Day and everywhere were seminars, walks, rallies and other programs to raise awareness for peace, protection and better working condition for women. Many gave flowers to women; many talked for their social and economic freedom, many sent them love messages and so on. Radio, TV, WebPages and newspapers were full with the title, International Women’s day. How ideal it was? Will it really happen? Perhaps for some people it has happened already. What percentage of women in the world is aware even of this day?

On the same day, when in big Halls and City Squares were seminars, talk shows and rallies of hundreds of women rights activists, I read very small news on BBC Urdu WebPage and some other local newspapers, that three girls have been killed, in a small town of Karak in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Pakistan. Ahhh, these three girls, named Hajira 12, Hamida 12 and Khalida 14 of the same family and a boy named Muhammad Raheem 24 were killed sometimes in the midnight between 7th and 8th of March 2009, the night many women rights organization were preparing for walks, and seminars.

Ahhh these three girls, Why they were killed? Because they were suspected violators of the custom. The Customs which are taught during their infancy, even I will say, which are fed in the mother’s milk. A famous poet and writer of Pashto language Ghani Khan said very rightly about it in his book, Tha Pathan (The Pashtoons), you call it law and keep it in big books. He calls it custom and keeps it in his wife’s treasure chest. You have to be either a judge or a criminal to know your law. He knows his customs before he knows how to eat. It is bred in him. It is mixed in his bones and works in his liver. He does not have to go to a learned man in a wig to know the law against which he sinned. He knows it as soon as he does it. He is his own judge and jailer. His ancestors have seen to it that it is so.

Ahhh, Why they forgot about the punishment before they committed this violation of custom. It is our custom to keep the custom alive. Violation of it turn brothers, father, cousins and all loved ones brutal, in order to protect custom. Law and mothers are silent and men determined on such occasions.  Mother’s the most loving relation in the nature is helpless to the extent to drink their tears and soak before they come out. They are not allowed to cry loudly, or even to cry at all. Why? Because it is a custom. They can also be blamed as helpers of the violators and can be tortured or killed. Mother’s cook food, washes clothes, and extends all possible help to the killers of their loving daughters who were killed for one sin. Ahhh Prisoners of custom. 

The police said, we are investigating the case, but it will never come out of the police office, and will be a part of bundles of files, and will be forgotten after few weeks.  According to police, they were killed by unknown persons, but normally in such cases killers are known and they are mostly their very close relatives. For such cases I will quote once again the book, Tha Pathan by Ghani Khan, where he describes it so, But does the Pathan (The Pashtoon) realises any of these things when he lifts his rifle to shoot the culprit? He does not. He is mad with anger. He must shoot, there is no alternative. If he does not, his neighbours will look down upon him, his father will sneer at him, his sister will avoid his eyes, his wife will be insolent and his friends will cut him dead. It is easier to be misunderstood by a judge who does not speak his language and be hanged by a law that does not understand his life. He does his duty by his people. He will play true to his blood even if he breaks his heart and neck in the bargain. He will walk to the gallows with proud steps with his hands covered with the blood of his wife or sister. And the admiring eyes of his people will follow him as they always do those who pay with their life for a principle. “Hero,” shout the Pathans. “Murderer,” says the judge. And I have never been able to find out who is right.

To err is human, every one even, the killers of these young girls, are also human being. They are also expected to commit such violation, but death and then such a brutal death, never. Ahhh these three young girls, I have in my mind their flower-like faces, then I think how they resisted to escape from death as according to postpartum there were signs of small wounds and scratches on their bodies, and how they were bathed in blood, because there were some empty magazines. It was small news in the newspaper, but it made big wound on hearts, for those who have hearts.

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I am a Pakistani national, studying for Ph D degree in Experimental Endocrinology at University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. I completed my schooling at my village at Karak, Pakistan. I did my university at Peshawar and Islamabad for Zoology and (more...)

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