Respect Councillor Salma Yaqoob has written to the Pakistani Consulate in Birmingham expressing her outrage at the brutal murder of three women, and two of their relatives who tried to defend them, in a so-called ‘honour killing’. She is urging the Pakistani government to bring the perpetrators to justice and also to take urgent steps to strengthen laws preventing violence against women.
In a case that has shocked the world, 3 women were kidnapped and apparently buried alive as punishment for wanting to marry husbands of their choice. Although Pakistan’s Senate has called for action to be taken against those responsible, the killings were defended by a Senator and the acting Chair of the Senate in the name of ‘tribal customs’.
Councillor Yaqoob said:
“These horrifying murders bring shame on Pakistan. People of Pakistani heritage in Birmingham are shocked that it has taken months for this case to come to light, and outraged that some senior political figures in Pakistan have sought to justify such killings. The murders highlight the most brutal
side of the oppression endured by many Pakistani women. This murderous oppression cannot be dignified by reference to ‘honour’, and has nothing in common with the Islamic faith. Such barbaric tribal customs should be challenged robustly, not re-inforced. The rights of women to choose to marry or not, and to marry a partner of their choice, is fundamental. British-Pakistani women stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters in Pakistan in demanding the government of Pakistan enforces laws to protect women’s rights.”
This is the text of Salma’s letter.
Mr. Arif Mahmood
Consulate of Pakistan
2/26, Constitution Hill
Birmingham B19 3HL
Dear Mr Mahmood
I am writing to express my shock and horror at the reported murder of 3 women, apparently buried alive in Balochistan in a so-called ‘honour killing’. This horrifying case has brought shame on Pakistan, and many people in Birmingham of Pakistani origin are deeply concerned about this case and the damage it does to the reputation of all Pakistanis.
I am aware that action is finally being taken to bring the perpetrators to justice, but I was dismayed to hear that two Senators had sought to justify such brutality.
I would be grateful if you would convey to the Pakistani government the strong feelings of Pakistanis in Birmingham about this issue, and our desire that urgent steps are taken to strengthen laws preventing violence against women.
Councillor Salma Yaqoob
Birmingham Council House
Birmingham B1 1BB