Pakistan Passes Law on Honour Killings

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Pakistan’s parliament has passed legislation against “honour killings”.

A joint session of the Parliament unanimously approved anti-honour killing and anti-rape bills moved by PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar.

The legislation on honour killings will introduce strict punishment for the convicts making it tougher than the ordinary murder cases.

Under the new law relatives of the victim would only be able to pardon the killer if he is sentenced to capital punishment. However, the culprit would still face a mandatory life sentence of twelve-and-a-half years.

The bill will prove to be effective in curbing rape cases across the country.

The perpetrator of the crime will also be medically examined after this bill is turned into law.

The verdicts in the rape cases will have to be given within three months, with the right to appeal in six months.

The police station will be obliged to inform the victims of their legal rights.

It has been made it mandatory that the culprit must be imprisoned for 25 years.

The DNA samples collected shall be at the earliest sent for investigation to a forensic laboratory whereat these shall be properly examined and preserved.

A joint session of the parliament approved the new anti-honour killing law, removing a loophole in existing law that allows killers to walk free after being pardoned by family members.

Background:

Some 500 women are killed each year in Pakistan at the hands of family members over perceived damage to “honour” that can involve eloping, fraternising with men or any other infraction against conservative values relating to women.

In most cases, the victim is a woman and the killer is a relative who escapes punishment by seeking forgiveness for the crime from family members.

In July, days after the ‘honour’ killing of social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch, a committee comprising lawmakers from both the lower and upper houses of parliament unanimously approved two bills aimed at tackling ‘honour’ killings and boosting rape convictions.

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