Govt's bill on Karo-kari not acceptable -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Govt’s bill on Karo-kari not acceptable

KARACHI – Speakers at meeting in Karachi on October 14, criticized contents of the government’s bill on karo-kari (honour killing) and described the presentation of the bill in the National Assembly as “an eyewash aimed at misleading the masses.”

The meeting was organized by an NGO, the Aurat Foundation. The speakers observed that the bill contained many loopholes which would enable culprit of a karo-kari to escape punishment.

Referring to the major loophole, they pointed out that the bill deemed the crime compoundable (allowing compromise). “In most karo-kari cases, killing is committed by a close relative (father, brother, son, etc.) and when the case is referred to a court, the victims’ family members pardoned the killer, who usually is set free,” one of the speakers said.

The other speakers suggested that it should not be left to the discretion of the court to decide if the compromise in a karo-kari case be allowed or not. They stressed on a law that could very strictly prevent compromise in karo-kari case.

They demanded that provision of Qisas and Diyat Ordinance, which allowed compromise, compensation, pardon, etc., should not be applicable in karo-kari cases because it was a crime not only against an individual but also against the whole society.

They claimed that after the promulgation of the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance, the society had become even more brute as most of the criminals usually having tried all options resort to entering a deal with the aggrieved.

Karo-kari is a socio-cultural menace that has been plaguing the society over a long period of time. Through this tradition, the male-dominated society suppresses its womenfolk.

The speakers suggested that culprits of karo-kari should not be given ‘the benefit of grave and sudden provocation’, under which the guilty was handed very light punishment or even set free.

Stressing justice, they demanded that the guilty of all those involved in karo-kari be punished sternly without the consideration of his position or status. They observed that victim of karo-kari always appeared to be a person belonging to a lower- or middle-class family. Not a single woman of an effluent or feudal family has ever been killed under the custom, according to them.

The speakers pointed out that various NGOs working for women’s rights had prepared a draft bill and put forward it through Ms Sherry Rehman of the PPP-P, but the government set it aside and came out with its own bill which, they said, had many flaws.

They said that certain political parties had earlier supported the civil society’s point of view on karo-kari but now when they had reached the corridor of power, they had been avoiding any support.

They urged the civil society organizations to launch an awareness campaign to enlighten the masses, parliamentarians, political parties, etc. about the menace of karo kari and also on how the government was trying to mislead the nation by presenting an ineffective bill.

A former federal minister Mr Iqbal Haider, Justice (r) Shaiq Usmani, Anis Haroon, Uzma Noorani and Nuzhat Shirin were among those who spoke on the occasion.

Source: Dawn

Date:10/15/2004