Death for a mobile phone

Via Małgorzata – in Pakistan, a young woman stoned to death for having a mobile phone.

Arifa, a mother of two, has been stoned to death on the orders of Panchayat (a tribal court) for possessing a cell phone. She was executed on 11 July in the district of Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab province. The victim was stoned to death by her uncle and relatives on the orders of Panchayat after she was found to have a mobile phone.

There’s something wrong here.

I know that’s an understatement, but it’s also the problem. There’s something wrong. There’s something wrong when on the one hand there’s a trivial matter like possession of a mobile phone (on which it would in theory be possible to invite men to fuck her), and on the other hand there’s the vicious murder of a relative who has two children.

There’s something wrong. That shouldn’t even be conceivable. They should have enough family affection, or at least respect for the needs and rights of other people, not to want to murder her. They don’t. There’s something wrong.

Women are often victimized by these illegal judicial systems. This incident is a demonstration of the strong patriarchal society in Pakistan, and women are forced to remain in their clutches. Because of the absence of a proper criminal justice system, the powerful sections of society have complete impunity when they enforce their will.

The incident is a clear reflection of the total collapse of the rule of law in the country, where every section of the government has become utterly redundant in the face of tribal, feudal and religious traditions. The local police have not arrested the members of the Panchayat because the power in the area lies with the landed aristocracy.

Stoning to death is a barbaric act from a primitive society. Society is sent the message that violence is the way to deal with women and other vulnerable groups. Women’s rights are negated through the use of these forms of punishment.

Pakistani society has degenerated to the point that, for a woman, keeping a cell phone has become serious crime. It is treated as a worse crime than gang rape, murder and bomb blasts, through which many people are killed on a daily basis.

And it’s treated as such a crime that an uncle and other relatives see fit to murder their niece/cousin/whatever for committing it. There’s something terribly wrong.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges the parliament to legislate against the illegal tribal courts, including the Jirga, Panchayat and Bradari judicial systems. The government must immediately investigate and arrest all the members of the Panchayat for ordering the murder of a woman on the charges of possessing a cell phone. The senior police officers for the district of Dera Ghazi Khan should also be prosecuted for aiding and abetting this heinous crime and neglecting their duty to investigate this case. The upper judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court of Pakistan, must take immediate action against illegal and parallel judicial systems and the killing of innocent people.

Fix it.



  1. John Phillips, FCD says

    I’m a glass half full kind of person, but there are times when the glass is just empty, this is one of those times.

  2. johnthedrunkard says

    Can we stop pretending?

    Our culture?


    Our morals?


    Our politics?


  3. medivh says

    John: Because it’s not like white Christians get to murder black teenagers in the US and then get away without punishment.

    Oh wait…

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