Bill for further amendment to honour killing law rejected -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Bill for further amendment to honour killing law rejected

ISLAMABAD, March 02 2005: A rare show of unity between the government and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) on Tuesday forced the National Assembly to reject a private bill of a treasury member for further amendment to the honour killing law, which was passed by the National Assembly last year. Earlier, the combined opposition also staged a noisy walkout from the House against alleged rigging in the by-polls of NA 127. The MMA members staged a token walkout for not allowing them to speak on the honour killing law.

The situation arose when MNA Kashmala Tariq introduced the bill for further amending the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2005).

She proposed to make amendments of sections 401 and 417 and insertion of a new Section 345-A in the bill. She said that the government has passed a law in this regard, but there are still lots of lacunas in it.

However, federal Law and Justice Minister Wasi Zafar opposed the bill and said that a bill was already in place for the protection and empowerment of women. All necessary amendments have been made after hectic consultation with the political parties, he added.

Kashmala said that the existing law compromises the crime of murder by giving the pardoning powers to the Wali. “Karo-kari is a heinous crime, therefore, the law should be further refined, as third party should have a right to appeal,” she demanded.

She urged to refer the bill to the standing committee for deliberation. Aitzaz Ahsan from the PPPP supported the bill and said that his party had already submitted a bill to bring such kind of amendments.

Emphasising upon the need to further amend the bill, Aitzaz said that more than 400 amendments have so far been made in the bill, which was enacted in 1898. He said that Islam does not allow such practice to pardon a murderer, who kills his own sister or daughter. He highlighted that Dr Samia Sarwar case reflects the same tragedy where mother and father did compromise after killing their daughter.

He urged Riaz Fatyana to refer the proposed bill to the standing committee, where Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and all other parties can hold deliberations on it.Taking part in the heated debate, Naheed Khan from the PPPP said that women constitute 52 percent of the total population. She said that Pakistan Peoples Party had always struggle for the equal rights of women.

She said that the existing bill should be reviewed, adding that state and third party should have the powers of Wali. Other members, including Fehmida Mirza, Mehreen Anwer Raja and Abdul Majeed Pirzada, also supported the bill and said that Pakistan was facing severe criticism from the international community due to malpractice of Karo-kari.

Asadullah Bhutto from the MMA also termed Karo-kari a heinous crime and said that Ulema are also against it. He said that unfortunately landlords and feudals had always supported this crime.

He accused that Pakistan Peoples Party came into power twice but did not do anything to curb such kind of crimes.On her turn, Samia Raheel Qazi said that no law could be made against the teachings of Islam.

Other members of the six religio-political alliance also opposed the amendments in the bill.The federal law minister requested Riaz Fatyana to conduct voice voting. The government and the MMA opposed the bill and consequently Kashmala Tariq’s bill was rejected.

Earlier speaking on a point or order, Khwaja Saad Rafiq from Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) condemned the alleged rigging in NA-127 by-elections in Lahore.

He said that the opposition candidate was winning with heavy mandate, but the government machinery rigged the results. He demanded of the government to constitute a high-level judicial inquiry committee to probe the issue.

Tehmina Daultana from PML-N questioned that how a unanimous candidate of PML-N, PPP, MMA and PTI was defeated against PML-Q candidate, who secured fourth position in the general elections?

She said that 2005 is the year of elections in which the opposition parties would whitewash the ruling coalition. Sharing his views, MMA central leader Dr Farid Paracha said that returning officer was the brother of senior superintendent of Lahore police. He alleged that the government rigged the elections in almost 30 polling stations.

Nayyar Hussain Bukhari claimed that the ballot boxes were sent to the Chief Minister’s House where they changed the results. Federal Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sher Afgan Niazi said that the opposition parties are not ready to concede their defeat.

After exchanging a few harsh words and chanting slogans against Sher Afgan Niazi, the opposition lawmakers staged walkout from the House. In another debate, lawmakers criticised the government’s efforts to provide relief in the rain-hit areas. The members from the affected districts accused the government of not doing enough to alleviate the miseries of the victims.

PPPP member Raja Pervez Ashraf said that the prime minister has announced projects worth Rs 1 billion for his own constituency, but other parliamentarians are being only given Rs 5 million for development projects in their constituencies.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:3/2/2005