New law in Pakistan makes it harder for men to get away with honor killings

Published October 7th, 2016 - 11:00 GMT
Pakistani women demonstrate against gender-based violence in 2014. (AFP/File)
Pakistani women demonstrate against gender-based violence in 2014. (AFP/File)

Anti-honor killing and anti-rape bills moved by Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Senator Farhatullah Babar was unanimously approved by the Pakistan Parliament in a joint session on Thursday.

Strict punishment would be introduced for the convicts under this bill on honor killings, making it tougher than ordinary murder cases.

According to this legislation, the killer would only be pardoned by relatives of the victim if he is sentenced to capital punishment. The culprit would still face a mandatory sentence of 25 years, reports the Dawn.

"The bill will prove to be effective in curbing rape cases across the country," Babar told the joint session of the Parliament before he moved the Anti-Rape Bill.

Law Minister, Zaid Hamid debating during the session, revealed that after this bill becomes a law, the perpetrator of the crime will also be medically examined.

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

Asserting that the police station will be obliged to inform the victims of their legal rights, Hamid added, "We have made it mandatory that the culprit must be imprisoned for 25 years."

Rape of minors, as well as mentally and physically ill, has also become punishable, he said.

"No law will eradicate a crime entirely but the law should be a deterrent. Laws are supposed to guide better behaviour, not allow destructive behavior to continue with impunity", said former PPP senator Sughra Imam, who had initially tabled both the bills.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated the Parliament and entire nation on the passage of a bill providing for strict punishment on honour killing.

Nawaz said in a statement, "I congratulate the Parliament, the NGOs, civil society, academia, media and all those who worked hard and supported us in the passage of this legislation."

"We will make it sure to fully enforce this legislation across the country as we did during its passage from the Parliament. Women are the most essential part of our society and I believe in their empowerment, protection and emancipation so that they can equally contribute towards development and prosperity of our country," he added. 

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