Reporting by Sahil Jogi
Hundreds of women killed for karo-kari are buried in an isolated graveyard in Ghotki.
The unattended cemetery is 150 kilometres away from the city. Left unattended, the area does not look like a graveyard. The graves have no bear mark of identification while scorching sand and thorny bushes cover the space. Residents never visit the area – it is ‘shameful’ to frequent the graves of women killed in the name of ‘honour’.
Residents say women would be killed after being declared ‘kari’. There would be no funeral and the victims would be buried without a shroud and final bath.
Badal Malik, an HRCP representative, says the practice of burying ‘kari’ women in this graveyard has stopped. “But karo-kari has not stopped. The law is there but there is no implementation.”
Zarqa Shar, a women rights activist, says there are three such graveyards. According to her, the presence of these graveyards serves the purpose of instilling fear in women’s hearts.
“If a woman raised her voice, did something for herself or refused to do something against her will, she would be declared kari and killed,” she says. “They are still killing women by declaring them kari but are now burying them in the common graveyards instead of the separate ones.”
Shar says police are complicit in such crimes. “They would say she died a natural death or committed suicide,” she says. “Sardars get involved as they do not want the custom of karo-kari to end. How will their sardari system continue if karo-kari ceases to exist?”
Writing by Minerwa Tahir
Published in Pakistan
Story first published: 7th March 2018