Yesterday, the Pakistani government solidly dismissed legislation “which sought to strengthen the law against the practice of ‘honour killing.'” There is nothing that is honorable about so-called honor killings, in which “a man can kill a woman, claiming that she brought dishonour to the family, and still expect to be pardoned by her relatives.” If the pardon is granted, the murderer becomes immune to any actions by the state; the victims of these crimes against humanity are disproportionately women who want to marry of their own free will. Though the Pakistani Law Minister claims there “is no need for further amendments in the country’s penal code,” last year’s supposed amendments left gaping loopholes when it came to dealing with a law that human rights organizations state “has been grossly misused and has contributed directly to an alarming increase in the practice.”
When hobnobbing with his “friend” President Musharraf of Pakistan, President Bush praised the Pakistani leader for a “clear vision of the need for people of goodwill and hope to prevail over those who are willing to inflict death in order to achieve an ideology that is — the predominance of an ideology that is just…dark in its view.” The statement is bold and the intent is there but it would be more convincing if President Bush had an equally harsh indictment for the continued practice of “honor killings” that take the lives of more than a thousand Pakistani women every year. Though even his own State Department acknowledges the horrific human rights abuses committed in Pakistan, President Bush continues to turn a blind eye to what is going on instead of demanding decency in the countries with which we ally ourselves.