Since February 2009 , this blog and Huib's 3 other Euroblogs are together at:

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Pakistan: 5 girls will be given to rivals over karo-kari

Pakistan, a staunch ally of the US, in possession of nuclear armament, has strange ways to deal with women.
In order to continue the unarmed and democratic struggle against oppression of women, everywhere, after this issue was darkened somewhat during our discussions of the Hirsi Ali impostures and manipulations, here an article in the Pakistani daily DAWN - Top Stories; May 28, 2006:
"5 girls will be given to rivals over karo-kari

By Shamim Shamsi

SUKKUR, May 27: A jirga decided on Saturday that five girls belonging to two rival groups would be given in marriage to settle a karo-kari dispute.

The jirga was held in the Haji Kamal Magsi village by Mian Abdul Khaliq of Bharchoondi Sharif, PPP MNA Ijaz Bijarani and Thull taluka nazim Ghulam Akbar Banglani. Warring groups — one led by Hafiz Qamardin Banglani and the other by Yar Ali Banglani and Ahmed Nandwani — were present on the occasion.

The karo-kari dispute started when Miandad Banglani, younger brother of Qamardin, was killed about five years ago.

After listening to both the sides, the jirga announced its verdict. The group led by Yar Ali Banglani and Ahmed Nandwani will hand over four of its girls as well as Rs700,000 to the Qamardin group. Elders of the Qamardin group will choose men from within the group to whom the girls will be married.

Accordingly, the Qamardin group will hand over one girl and Rs135,000 to the rival group."
Googling somewhat on "karo-kari", I discovered that this is an old custom in the region, among muslims as well as others, to settle honour disputes between clans. It is linked to "honour killings" of "adulterous" women, or women who simply contract a love marriage. It is not limited to women: men may be killed for these reasons, too.
But the vast majority of the killings or forced marriages happen to women (386 reported in the year 2000, many more are not reported). Rich families are exempted. Rich women are condemned to "marry the Koran", which means that they have to stay unmarried their whole life.
Background of this barbaric custom are often disputes over land and property. When you kill or force out of marriage an heiress, even if she is your own sister, there will be more property for you, in the end.
What is the connection with Islam, here? Coming to Pakistan, Islam has integrated local customs and beliefs, like the Catholic Church did in its time in other countries. "Marrying the Koran" is not unlike the bannishment of redundant princesses to convents, as was the custom in Europe, not so long ago.
Which doesn't mean, that "karo-kari" should be tolerated in any way. Not in Pakistan, not in Europe.
It is chilling, to note, that the relatively progressive paper Dawn carries no outraged comments. It looks as if the journalists are happy, that a murderous dispute is settled by wise men at such a modest cost!
"Only five virgins more have been caged."
The press release moreover, seems to imply that a representative of the big PPP (Pakistani People's Party, the power-base of the Bhuttos) participated in this "jirga".

I am sure, that Ayaan Hirsi Ali will take up this issue of karo-kari first thing at the American Enterprise Institute. The New York Times is already supporting a campaign to give asylum to Pakistani women who underwent similar treatment (the woman who was raped at the 'order' of a local court by 5 men of the 'offended' family).
Knowing the principled stands of the AEI, it will not hesitate to join -exceptionally- the 'Times' in this honourable campaign, even if it risks to harm the good relations with Muzarraf and the ISI.

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