MULTAN, Pakistan - Nazir Ahmed appears calm and unrepentant as he recounts how he slit the throats of his three young daughters and their 25-year old stepsister to salvage his family's "honor"—a crime that shocked Pakistan.
The 40-year old laborer, speaking to The Associated Press in police detention as he was being shifted to prison, confessed to just one regret—that he didn't murder the stepsister's alleged lover too.
Alleged lover? You know what, I'm sure that Tony Blair—advocating as he has been, the concept of summary justice—thoroughly approves of this gentleman's actions. Killing the little bitch will ensure that she's not getting a good fucking, even if she wasn't in the first place. Summary justice, kids: it works.
Actually, I'm pretty sure that Tony will also praise the gentleman for killing his younger children too. Why?
Speaking to AP in the back of police pickup truck late Tuesday as he was shifted to a prison in the city of Multan, Ahmed showed no contrition. Appearing disheveled but composed, he said he killed Muqadas because she had committed adultery, and his daughters because he didn't want them to do the same when they grew up.
"I thought the younger girls would do what their eldest sister had done, so they should be eliminated," he said, his hands cuffed, his face unshaven. "We are poor people and we have nothing else to protect but our honor."
You see? It was a pre-emptive strike! He's been tough on the causes of crime; in this case, the cause was life, and his actions have ensured that his daughters will never commit a crime. No courts, no bother about any evidence; just tough love all the way! Ahmed's Knighthood is in the bag.
No, seriously, this was a pretty horrible crime but I'm going to put my Lefty, multi-culti, benefit-of-the-doubt head on and say that he is, surely, just a lone nut, right?
Hundreds of girls and women are murdered by male relatives each year in this conservative Islamic nation, and rights groups said Wednesday such "honor killings" will only stop when authorities get serious about punishing perpetrators.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that in more than half of such cases that make it to court, most end with cash settlements paid by relatives to the victims' families, although under a law passed last year, the minimum penalty is 10 years, the maximum death by hanging.
It is the latest of more than 260 such honor killings documented by the rights commission, mostly from media reports, during the first 11 months of 2005.
Oh, right. Erm...
Right, remember chaps, their culture is just as valid as our insipid liberalism, OK, so we should make sure that we don't discourage them from being able to practice their own culture when they come to our country, OK?
Still, at least Ahmed has, indeed, restored honour; after all, his daughter was a filthy cheating whore, eh?
Despite Ahmed's contention that Muqadas had committed adultery—a claim made by her husband—the rights commission reported that according to local people, Muqadas had fled her husband because he had abused her and forced her to work in a brick-making factory.
Police have said they do not know the identity or whereabouts of Muqadas' alleged lover.
Muqadas was Bibi's daughter by her first marriage to Ahmed's brother, who died 14 years ago. Ahmed married his brother's widow, as is customary under Islamic tradition.
Keep it in the family, eh?*
"Women are treated as property and those committing crimes against them do not get punished," said the rights commission's director, Kamla Hyat. "The steps taken by our government have made no real difference."
Now, you spot the cultural relativists in the room; they are the ones with their eyes closed, covering their ears and chanting "Just a valid as ours, the culture is just as valid as ours, Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace" over and over again. Some people are deliberately blind.
Of course, it's a bit of a Lefty head-fuck really. Which of your special causes do you support in this case? The cultural precedent, or the equality of women? Decisions, decisons...
Activists accuse President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a self-styled moderate Muslim, of reluctance to reform outdated Islamized laws that make it difficult to secure convictions in rape, acid attacks and other cases of violence against women. They say police are often reluctant to prosecute, regarding such crimes as family disputes.
Even when murder is involved. I would imagine that, in cases like this, that may be because the policemen tacitly agree with the perpetrators. The concept of honour killings is deeply ingrained in Muslim ideology, as illustrated by the fact that a poll at a Turkish university found 40% of those polled in favour of such murders.***
Statistics on honor killings are confused and imprecise, but figures from the rights commission's Web site and its officials show a marked reduction in cases this year: 267 in the first 11 months of 2005, compared with 579 during all of 2004. The Ministry of Women's Development said it had no reliable figures.
Well, that's progress of a kind, I suppose. Still, that's 267 too many. And, please, also note that these are not ordinary homicides; these are directly related to the culture of that country, which in turn is determined by current thinking in Islam. Pakistan is the ultimate Muslim country. It split from the rest of India in order to become an Islamic nation.
Ijaz Elahi, the ministry's joint secretary, said the violence was decreasing and that increasing numbers of victims were reporting incidents to police or the media. Laws, including one passed last year to beef up penalties for honor killings, had been toughened, she said.
Police in Multan said they would complete their investigation into Ahmed's case in the next two weeks and that he faces the death sentence if he is convicted for the killings and terrorizing his neighborhood.
This is, indeed, very good news. However, it is still going to be difficult to stop the practice of honour killing when it is so woven into the culture of the country.
Ahmed, who did not resist arrest, was unrepentant.
"I told the police that I am an honorable father and I slaughtered my dishonored daughter and the three other girls," he said. "I wish that I get a chance to eliminate the boy she ran away with and set his home on fire."
Nice. Note that no one seems to know who this "boy" is or if he even existed. Still, I'm sure that Daddy will find someone to blame one day. Or rather, not, since—if there is any justice in the world, or even just in Pakistan—he will be dangling from the end of a rope by the end of next week.
* By the way, in Africa, there is a similar tradition, although the widow only needs to have sex with a relative of her husband (otherwise her husband's evil spirit will drive her insane, apparently). This is just one of the many social causes for the massive spread of AIDS** in that continent, to which the preference for "dry sex" also contributes. But that topic is for another post.
** Please note that it is an acronym and should be capitalised, not spelt Aids. The Speccie has started doing this a lot recently, even though they still capitalise HIV, and I find it unreasonably annoying.
*** And we are considering them for EU membership! Just think how much more exciting our lives will be when unlimited numbers of Turkish Muslims will be able to flood into our country on EU passports: I can hardly wait!****
**** To emigrate.