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Ending Karo – kari

Editorial…

The heartening decision taken by the women MPs belonging to ruling PML-Q and its allied parties, to introduce a bill in Parliament, which will provide severe punishment for crimes like honour killings is a welcome move. Although section 302 of PPC clearly states that a ‘maximum sentence of death penalty will be awarded to killers who commit such crimes in the name of honour, land, woman, revenge or any other reason’, the problem is that these laws are neither implemented properly nor do they have the ability to cover other women-related crimes like honour killing. Until and unless the existing laws are not enforced, punishments cannot be meted out to those who commit such crimes. Consequently we cannot expect any change or cessation in the burgeoning crime in the country.

The proposed bill will provide a minimum sentence of 14 years to criminals of honour killing. PML-Q president Ch Shujaat Hussain stressing that karo kari was totally against the teachings of Islam said that it must be eradicated from the society once and for all. Such positive words from the Leader of the House should be appreciated, especially after some members in the Assembly declared they should not waste the Assembly’s time on ‘un-Islamic’ (read women) issues, instead they should dwell on more important issues like the ‘presidential speech’. Considering such a condescending attitude towards women related issues, the PML-Q MPs must promptly add more clauses to the bill in question that will extend its scope to cover all crimes against women and minors, especially rape, burning, molestation, domestic violence, vanni etc.

The PML(Q) women members will do well to take along MPs of other parties on the bill so as to avoid needless discussion on the important issue of alleviation of the social status of women. Instead of pooh-poohing other parties’ bills concerning women’s issues consensus must be reached to ensure that these crimes are taken seriously. Until and unless these issues are not agitated the male MPs will not accept the reality of these crimes, and that these are offences actually being committed against human beings who are also a vital part of this society. It is imperative to emphasize that these crimes are punishable under slam as well as societal laws.

An essential point that all the women members of the Parliament must appreciate is that regardless of which party or faction they belong to they represent the women of Pakistan. It will be in the fitness of things to jointly formulate a strategy according to which they can work for the elimination of these kinds of negative traditions from the society against women. The women deserve to be guaranteed a safe and respectable life instead of their present status as second class citizens.

Source: The News

Date:4/3/2004

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