NA approves death for Karo-Kari -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

NA approves death for Karo-Kari

ISLAMABAD – The National Assembly in Islamabad on October 26, passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2004 providing severe punishments for those involved in Karo-Kari.

The killing of a woman on the pretext of honour has been declared murder punishable with death penalty. However, the government did not agree to the demand of certain quarters that it should retain the right to lodge an FIR against the killer of a woman as usually family members pardon the killers.

The government rejected this demand on the grounds that Islam does give such right to Wali and it would not assume the role of Wali. Now the courts have been given the powers to pardon the killers of a girl in case the family elder of the victim strikes any deal with the killers.

The sweeping changes to the Hudood laws of 1979 have also stopped police from arresting the persons accused of Zina unless an SP level officer of police conducts investigation and court permission is sought.

Another procedural change has been made in the Blasphemy law under which no officer of police below the rank of SP will conduct investigation into allegations. Talking to The News, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr. Sher Afgan Niazi defended the sweeping changes in the laws.

He said the government had not touched the Islamic clauses of these bills, as only procedures of investigations were changed to stop misuse of these laws against the vulnerable sections of society particularly women.

He said the changes would help the people get justice instead of being targeted by the police that have been using these laws against weak sections of society. Earlier, the House resumed third and final reading of the bill on Tuesday. The bill was passed, though the opposition claimed many flaws in the new laws.

However, the opposition is divided on the issues of nature of changes to the Hudood and honour killing laws. The PPPP is in favour of radical changes while the MMA leadership is against any change in the procedure of investigations what to talk of any change to the existing laws.

Even PPPP MNA Sherry Rehman had put her own bill in the House that was rejected. APP adds: “We did it with utmost sincerity, dedication and intense deliberations involving all concerned segments of society,” said Adviser to Prime Minister Nilofar Bakhtiar in her remarks on the floor of the House after the bill was passed.

“We have passed a law that must be a matter of pride for women. We must have courage to redefine the word ‘honour’ and go for effective implementation of this law,” Nilofar said. Nilofar said only in the year 2003 as many as 1,261 women were killed across the country in name of Karo-Kari and other such customs in practice in different parts of the country just without any remorse or repentance. “This tale of horror and tears must come to an end now and we should have the courage to go for it,” she said.

Nilofar appreciated the cooperation of the speaker National Assembly, the federal law minister, the minister of state for defence, opposition members, Ulema and female legislators and all others who participated in finalising and getting the bill passed.

Source: The News

Date:10/27/2004