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Weather the Shadow: Social justice within cultural relativism in Pakistan

Ivan GyozoSomlai

Abstract
There is a frequent issue in Pakistan with the occurrence of some crimes that, in
the eyes of several disciplines, could be considered as culturally motivated and
sanctioned. This brings into play not only several unresolved academic
definitions, but as well the reality of a clash of traditional or customary laws
with modern or common law at all levels of society. Efforts to proactively
sensitise legislators and the public often exacerbate the context for the very
people the efforts are aimed to help. Moreover, the continuation of cultural
related crimes demonstrates either an inability to resolve severely divisive
issues, or else the persistence of vested interests within influential segments of
society to sustain such practices. A gamut of well-intentioned individuals and
groups has attempted to formulate and enact changes in order to stop these
crimes, without meeting with much success. This article is therefore an attempt
to highlight the complexity of justice/culture interplay and to proffer concrete
suggestions for enabling movement towards peaceful resolution.

Keywords: Pakistan, social justice, cultural relativism, perceptions, law reform