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Amendments to honour killing law stressed

LAHORE: The Legislative Watch Programme of Aurat Foundation for Women Empowerment urged the government on Friday to make necessary amendments in the honour killing laws and declare the act a non-compoundable offence.

The demand was made at a provincial consultation meeting on “the proposed amendments in the honour killing law” organized by the Aurat Foundation.

The purpose of the consultation meeting was to highlight the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2004, otherwise known as the ‘Honour Killings Act’, which was promulgated after murders of thousands of innocent girls and women and after years of demands and struggle from different segments of society.

However, the act falls short of providing actual protection to survivors/victims and ensuring punishment for perpetrators and supporters.

The amendments mostly deal with the qisas and diyat provisions in the PPC, but have left some major lacunas, which have rendered the law useless, it was stated.

Justice Nasira Javaid Iqbal (retired) said the acceptance of honour killing would make actions like karo kari lawful and legitimate in the male dominated society.

Deploring an increase in honour killing incidents in Pakistan, she said it was the right time for law enforcing agencies and legislators to make effective efforts to eliminate such inhuman practice.She urged the government to restore the local government system for effective implementation of laws at the grassroots level.

Police officials should be sensitized on how to investigate women-specific cases like abduction, murder, honor killing, acid throwing, stove burning, rape and discriminatory laws which were directly affecting women. This would also reduce the incidents of honour killing, she said.

Advocate Hassam Qadir Shah highlighted various aspects of the honour killing law.

He said after the change in the law, the entire basis of the trial, conviction and sentencing of an offender against the human body had undergone substantial change.

Above all, the new law introduced a profound change in the conceptualization of the role of the state, he said.Women Rights Activist and former MNA Mehnaz Rafi, eminent lawyer Afzal Haider, advocate Shamimur Rehman Malik and various others speakers pointed out lacunae in the honour killing laws.

Aurat Foundation Resident Director Nasreen Zehra said her organization had conducted a thorough research on karo kari, honour killing and torture on women during the last four years.

She said more than 2,000 women had been killed in the name of honour during the period.

Dawn

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