Pakistani Teen Mauled by Dogs and Shot in “Honor Killing”

Taslim Solangi (a.k.a. Tasleem Solangi) was murdered in Pakistan 8 months ago, and the news is just recently hitting the press. She was the victim of a supposed “honor killing” — her father says it was cover-up for a land dispute — based on a claim that she was 8 months pregnant by a man not her husband. Taslim was forced to give birth, and the baby was thrown into a canal. Taslim was then put in front of dogs to be mauled, and subsequently shot dead. She was 17-years-old.

Female senators staged a walkout from the federal parliament Monday to press for action on better protections for women after a national newspaper published details of Tasleem Solangi’s death.

“How long will women be buried alive and made to face hungry dogs? Women are not given their rights,” opposition lawmaker Semi Siddiqui said.

Ibrahim Solangi, 28, has been in custody ever since Taslim’s death in March and is awaiting trial on murder charges, said Pir Mohammad Shah, the police chief of the Khairpur Mirs district in southern Pakistan. Taslim’s husband was also her first cousin.

Human rights groups say hundreds of women are killed by male relatives every year in Pakistan for alleged infidelity or other perceived slights to the family name, and activists say many more cases go unreported.

In August, a Pakistani lawmaker drew fierce criticism after describing a case in which five women were allegedly buried alive for trying to choose their husbands as the product of “centuries-old traditions” that he would defend.

As in that case, the allegations surrounding the death of Tasleem Solangi remain unproven.

Speaking to reporters in Karachi on Monday, Taslim’s father said he was locked up in his home and forced to watch from a window as dogs chased her and then mauled her when she fell down exhausted. She then was shot, he said.

Whether Taslim and her baby were murdered so brutally and grotesquely due to alleged adultery or due to a land dispute is largely irrelevant. The results are the same and they are equally appalling and unjust. Either way, she was used as a tool of patriarchal revenge.  Like with 13-year-old Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow in Somalia, Taslim Solangi was murdered because she was a woman and therefore believed to be a subhuman piece of property by her killers. She was murdered because her killers thought that due to her status as a woman, no one would care about her death.

I hope that the female senators who walked out of parliament in protest are evidence that her killers were wrong.  Like everywhere that violence against women exists, it will not stop until those perpetrating it are proven wrong, until their actions are risen up against and shown to be unacceptable both to the masses and to those in power.  It will not stop until it’s demanded loudly enough, by both women and their allies.  And it has to fucking stop.  If there was ever evidence of that, Taslim’s murder is it.  It has to fucking stop.

For more, see this great post by Sanchita Scherezade at Global Comment.

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10 comments for “Pakistani Teen Mauled by Dogs and Shot in “Honor Killing”

  1. November 10, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    that’s absolutely sickening.

  2. November 10, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    You can’t tell me that these men don’t get off on this shit. It happens too fucking often.

  3. Laurel
    November 10, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Is there something we can do to protest this or support these Senators? Please let us know. Thanks!

  4. Ishtar
    November 11, 2008 at 7:50 am

    When I read about these atrocities I want to put my head down and cry until there are no more tears left. I’m haunted by the fear and pain this poor woman must have experienced in her last moments. No one…no one…should have to experience such barbarity.

    I’m glad the female senators walked out but what did the male senators do?

  5. SunlessNick
    November 11, 2008 at 10:20 am

    And why am I not surprised to see the first comment on Sanchita’s post opining that the whole thing is bullshit?

    I hope that the female senators who walked out of parliament in protest are evidence that her killers were wrong.

    The police have taken the rare step of arresting some of those responsible, so I hope that’s evidence too. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if the authorities try to make it the One Time – making a bug show of this one time they do punish this evil, in the hopes of excusing all the times they don’t bother.

  6. November 11, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    When I first read this over at Global Comment it struck me with such horror and I have become accustomed to reading about the violence that poor women of color face. I agree with the author in that we cannot as western feminists apply some kind of cultural sympathy to events like this. Evil is evil not matter in what name it is performed.

  7. Alara Rogers
    November 11, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I agree with the author in that we cannot as western feminists apply some kind of cultural sympathy to events like this. Evil is evil not matter in what name it is performed.

    It gets complicated. Actions like this are unequivocally evil and should be opposed with all our heart and soul. But on one side of us, we have the right-wingers who say “Yes! That act was totally evil — and Muslims do that kind of thing all the time, because they’re evil! You should stand with us in condemning Islam and agreeing that we should bomb Iraq and lock Muslims up in concentration camps!” And while we’re going, “Huh? Bwuh?”, people on the left side of us are saying, “Well, we really can’t condemn such an act as Westerners, because Western society and Christians commit many heinous acts against women too! As long as women are pressured into getting breast implants in the US, we have no moral high ground to condemn a teenager being torn apart by dogs on a trumped-up charge of infidelity!”

    To me it seems that it should be possible to stake out a middle ground. Hard-line Islamic militia like the one in Somalia, strict Wahhabist Muslims like the people in charge in Saudi Arabia, and many of the pre-Islam cultural values held in some of the places where Islam has its strongest foothold, such as the honor killing bullshit in Pakistan and the female genital mutilation in much of Africa… these are misogynist, women-hating cultures, subcultures, or aspects of culture. We should despise the people who commit such acts and be suspicious of those who condone them. But this can never be used as an excuse to condemn the *entire* culture, as the entire culture is *full* of women and maybe many of them are fighting this kind of thing. For that matter there may be male allies in those cultures as well; poor Taslim’s *father*, rather than the more frequent equation of “father participates in honor killing”, appears to have been utterly horrified by what happened, and was held prisoner, helpless, while his brother and nephew murdered his daughter. So the problem is not “Islam” or “Muslim men” or even “men in Pakistan”, but the *specific* form of misogyny practiced in the culture.

    At the same time, we as Western feminists, while recognizing that our lives are not peaches and roses either, would be spitting on our foremothers not to recognize that we have it *much* better than Taslim Solangi did, that we can be murdered by our husbands and have a judge pretty much ignore it but if we’re torn apart by dogs in front of our fathers as part of an attempt to steal his land we can be pretty sure we will not be retroactively declared to be the guilty parties and our murderers exonerated. Besides, as feminists we have the moral high ground to declare these acts evil even *if* one could point to a case of a Westerner doing the exact same thing, because we have as much obligation (if perhaps not more) to criticize our own culture as to criticize other people’s, and evil is evil. if we don’t fall in the trap of saying “A Pakistani Muslim man committed evil and therefore Muslims are evil” we have no reason to refrain from saying “A Pakistani Muslim man committed evil” even if plenty of American Christian men also commit evil… as long as we’re willing to point out their evil too, and we generally are.

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