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Pakistani Mother, Daughters Gunned Down for Dancing in Rain

A mother and her two teenage daughters were shot to death after five masked men broke into their house in the small town of Chilas in Gilgit, Pakistan in what was reported to be an honor killing.

The girls, ages 15 and 16, were reportedly targeted on June 24, 2013 killing over a mobile video of them enjoying rain in their garden, which had been circulating locally and was taken as an affront to the family's honor.

Authorities allege that the killer was the girls’ stepbrother Khutore who was enraged at watching this video and enlisted the help of four of his friends to restore, in his view, his family's honor. The friends have since been captured and confessed to their crimes, but Khutore is still at large.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan‘s annual report, honor killings remain “the most consistent and abhorrent form of violence against women in Pakistan.” In 2012, 913 women were killed in the name of their family's honor, including 99 children, the report says.

Shafiqul Hassan Siddiqui dissected the reasons behind honor killing in Pakistan on Dunya blogs:

It is an outcome of vengeance. 95% focused on women. One of the family members (mostly a man), with the consent of other family members, kills and sentences the woman on few basis. For the whole family this becomes a moment of pride when they sacrifice their own blood because due to her they earned dishonor. There are many reasons that are considered as the main and basic causes behind the honor killing.

Two Pakistani Teenage Sisters Noor Basra and Noor Sheza shot because of dancing in the rain. Screenshot from YouTube Video uploaded by NewsMedia24

Screenshot from the alleged mobile video that is believed to have lead to the slaying of these teenage sisters. Uploaded on YouTube by NewsMedia24

Reacting to the recent killing, New York Times Pakistan Bureau Chief Declan Walsh (@declanwalsh) tweeted:

@declanwalsh: utter madness – two girls and mother killed in northern Pakistan over video showing them enjoying the rain. http://beta.dawn.com/news/1020576

Lubna Khan (@Lubnagigyani), a blogger on gender issues, commented on the killings:

@Lubnagigyani: CRIME of the heinous kind. Honourable humans do not KILL under any circumstances-egoistic machoism being the last

Political blogger Zeesh (@zeesh2) took issue with the term “honor killings”:

@zeesh2: honor killing is a misnomer – misdirected emotions- if they really have honor they need to kill themselves not others

A theatre performance displaying Violence on Women' during a protest. -- Hyderabad, Pakistan. Image bby Rajput Yasir. Copyright Demotix (6/8/2011)

A theatre performance displaying violence on women during a protest. — Hyderabad, Pakistan. Image bby Rajput Yasir. Copyright Demotix (6/8/2011)

Gedrosia (@gedrosian), a Twitter user from Balochistan province, added that leaked mobile videos have had dire consequences for female students in conservative areas too:

@gedrosian: there are a number of cases in Balochistan too where college/school photos were leaked. and girls were taken out of colleges

Writing a few days before this most recent killing, The Future summed up the solution to ending honor killings:

I feel that a revolution is required in the thinking pattern of the male members to change the existing notion of power. The prerequisite in the present scenario is not to empower one gender over the other but equilibrium between the two genders towards accomplishment of joint goals, better society and a better future for the upcoming generations by being proud of one’s own culture is needed.

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