In a gruesome reminder that men, too, can be brutally punished for honor — a Baloch man has had his eyes gouged out by his father and his four bothers. Abdul Baqi’s only crime was to propose to a young woman of his own choice. Naturally, there are fears for her safety.
Abdul is now irreversibly blind. After his ordeal, he begged his family to kill him. But they refused; preferring to let him live so that he would be made an example to other young men in the village. A veritable deterrent to ensure that there is no going against traditional norms.
But to be clear, this has nothing to do with culture, conservative or otherwise. It has everything to do with violent authoritarianism. This is what happens when the patriarchy begins to eat itself. And Pakistan should be very afraid. For if this can happen to a young man, it may signal that things could be about to get even worse for women. For what Abdul suffered is the equivalent to having acid thrown in his face; an all too common occurrence that women across the country are subjected to. Usually for rejecting unwelcome advances or unsolicited proposals.
Thus far, it is not clear whether any local NGO has stepped forward to help fund further medical expenses. Or to help Abdul find some kind of work once he has healed. Though the bigger and more immediate test lies in what will happen to Abdul’s father and two brothers who have been arrested. They should be charged without delay and all efforts must be made to apprehend the two other brothers who are reportedly still on the run.
Indeed, it might be welcome if the Chief Justice of Pakistan takes notice of the case. Not because a man had to suffer such brutality. But because by talking about what happened to Abdul, there may just be a chance to broaden the scope of accompanying narratives. That is, without the false constraints of what the victim did or did not do to ‘provoke’ his family. If this can happen — and it is a big “if” — it offers hope that such dialogue can eventually become normalized when it comes to honoring attacks against women.
Admittedly, this is a long-shot. But we have to start somewhere. With both men and women on the same page. And standing together.
Source: Daily Times