212432 Honor Killing of Women in Pakistan

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 4:45 PM

Muazzam Nasrullah, MD, MPH , Department of Community Medicine & Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Kristin Cummings, MD MPH , Morgantown, Morgantown, WV

Honor killing (HK) is a problem of public health concern but published data on the phenomenon are limited. In a separate paper we determined the burden, circumstances and method/weapon used for HK among women in Pakistan from 2004-2007. In this paper we analyzed the recent data from 2008 and described the epidemiological patterns of HK of women in Pakistan.


Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) systematically collected data on HK of women using newspaper reports from January-December 2008. We analyzed the aggregated data on HK through December 2008 and estimated the rate of HK.


A total of 573 HK events occurred in 2008; complete data was not available for all variables. Adults (≥18 years) constituted 83% (233/281) of death toll with 87% (356/407) being married. Alleged extramarital relation was the major reason for the killing (95%;521/548). Minorities were victims of HK in 7 instances (5 Christians, 2 Hindus). Husbands (42%;203/487), brothers (29%;139/487) and close relatives (12%;60/487) were the perpetrators in known HK events. Among the weapons/methods used for killing, firearms (60%;309/515), use of axe (11%;56/515), strangulation (11%;54/515) and edged tool (10%;49/515) were the main means of execution. The annual rate of HK in females (age 15-64 years) was found to be 11.6 per million.


Newspaper reports are good source of surveillance when information is limited. We found that adult married women constituted the majority of victims of HK. Ongoing surveillance would serve to better characterize HK in Pakistan and assess the effectiveness of preventive strategies.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the epidemiological patterns of 'Honor Killing' and its associated factors in Pakistan

Keywords: Violence, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.