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Citizen Voices

The Privatisation Of Murder

I heard the term “privatisation of murder” for the first time in an interview of late madam Asma Jahangir, in which she was talking about ‘honour’ killings and how the murderers are pardoned by family members of the deceased girls.

As a sheltered teenager from a typically urban middle-class household, with very limited exposure, I was unable to fathom the depth of her statement. However, the words got stuck in my mind.

I got more familiar with the issue of ‘honour’ killings with time, as it started getting highlighted, first on the international media, then on local media.

For people like us who had only heard or read about about ‘honour’ killings on news, the murder of Qandeel Baloch, the social media celebrity notorious for her bold social media videos, was the materialisation of the reality of this crime. For us, these stories of ‘honour’ killings did exist, but as names and not as faces.

Qandeel was a household name; her murder was the murder of a real face we knew as a person.

Two days back we got the news that Qandeel Baloch’s parents announced pardon for her brothers. The news hit home. I was listening to a clip on Voice of America, where Qandeel’s father, when questioned about forgiving their sons on the murder of their own daughter, said, “Saadi marzi, saadi dhi si” (Our daughter, Our will). Suddenly those words, heard as a teenager, somewhere lurking in my mind, came back with full force; “privatisation of murder”.

Multan Court rejected the request of her parents to pardon their sons. It was a high-profile case. There are numerous cases of ‘honour’ killings, where disposable women are killed as personal property by fathers or brothers, and the same fathers or brothers then pardon themselves, saying the same words “Saadi marzi, saadi dhi si“.

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