Draft law on honour crimes faces opposition -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Draft law on honour crimes faces opposition

LAHORE – A ‘majority’ of the treasury members belonging to the PML and its allied parties in the National Assembly are said to be against the proposed draft law on honour crimes because they consider it against their local traditions.

Official sources told Dawn that the treasury members had expressed serious concern over the punishment for honour crimes set in the proposed law and also rejected the definition of such crimes.

A 50-member parliamentary committee, headed by Rai Mansib Ali, has been holding discussions on the proposed law since July this year. On the other hand, most of the members of the committee who belong to the opposition are reportedly in favour of the enactment of the draft law without any compromise on the proposed punishment.

Sources said most of the treasury members from the Punjab and Balochistan apprehended that the new law, if enacted, would provide legal cover to ‘adultery.’ They also wanted that the punishment of the crime committed on sudden provocation should be lenient.

The final draft is likely to be presented with some amendments before the assembly during the next session. Earlier, the new draft law was presented in the assembly in July, but was referred to the committee.

Sources said the proposal of no compromise between the aggrieved and the accused parties in the draft might be excluded. Besides, they said, the punishment proposed by the draft might be amended.

Under the proposed draft, the definition of honour crimes means the offence in the name of ghairat or honour or vindication of honour and includes honour killing and the offence committed on the pretext of karo kari, siyah kari or similar other practices.

In qisas, the law proposes that the wali would be a person other than the murderer (of the victim). The punishment of killing in the name of honour has been proposed as qisas, death or imprisonment for life.

In case of compounding and waiver, the crimes fall in fasad-fil-arz and their punishment should not be less than 10 years. While the punishment in honour-related attempt of murder should be up to 10 years and not less than four years.

In case of injuries, ta’azir shall not be less than half of such imprisonment if the injuries relate to honour crime. Another proposal is that females shall not be given in exchange in marriage or otherwise in badal-i-sulh.

Under the existing law, a senior lawyer informed that courts resurrected defence of grave and sudden provocation; less sentence in honour killing crime. Offenders, he said, were often saved from any punishment by compounding and waiver by walis (families).

He said that remission and suspension of sentences were reported in such cases besides females were exchanged in marriage. “After enactment of the proposed law crimes against women committed in the name of honour throughout the country may reduce,” the lawyer hoped.

It is pertinent to mention that as many as 930 women were killed in the country in the name of honour in 2003. Of them, 638 belonged to Sindh, 463 to Punjab, 120 to the NWFP and 40 to Balochistan.

Source: Dawn

Date:10/11/2004