Sunday, October 9, 2016

On Thursday, Pakistan’s parliament announced a bill has been passed against the practice of honour killing. Per the legislation, those convicted of honour killing would be imprisoned for 25 years to life.

In the practice of honour killing, men had the right to kill a female relative deemed to have brought dishonour to the family. Thus, murderers could avoid death-for-death Qisas ((ar))Arabic: ?retribution in kind by paying blood money according to Diyya ((ar))Arabic: ?blood money in Shari’a law.

The legislation, which was jointly approved by upper and lower parliament, allows the perpetrator to avoid the death penalty if the victim’s family forgives him, but the convict still faces imprisonment.

Last year, more than 1000 honour killing cases were reported in Pakistan. The legislation was presented as eliminating loopholes from past legislation against honour-killing. Pakistani human rights activist Farzana Bari noted the judge has unrestricted power to choose whether the murder qualifies as honour killing.

Asserting in parliament that 17,000 females in Pakistan have eloped since 2014, Conservative senator Hafiz Hamdulla later told the Associated Press, “They are trying to impose Western culture over here. We will not allow […] We will impose the law that our holy Quran and Sunnah say”.

The parliament also passed an anti-rape law mandating a DNA test. According to Shari’a law, proof of rape calls for multiple eyewitnesses. According to the legislation, the rapist of a minor or disabled person would face life imprisonment or a death sentence.

After the bill against honour killing was passed, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “Women are the most essential part of our society and I believe in their empowerment, protection and emancipation.”

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