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Police adopt ‘ham-handed approach’ in honour killing

Police adopt ‘ham-handed approach’ in honour killing

By IMRAN GABOL

LAHORE: Police are allegedly treating a recent honour killing case as an ordinary murder even though an anti-honour killing bill had been passed in October 2016.

Shazia, 40, the mother of three, was shot dead allegedly by her brother Akram in the name of honour in Lower Mall on Thursday. Police registered a case under sections 302 and 324 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) without including the honour killing charges.

Initial investigation revealed that the woman had left her home on Jan 9 and wanted to marry a man after getting divorce from her husband. Her father-in-law Faqeer Muhammad lodged a kidnapping case against Gull and his three accomplices after which the Shafiqabad police launched investigation.

On Thursday, the woman along with Gull was going to court to record her statement that she had not been kidnapped by anyone when her husband Hassan and other members of the family approached her and asked her to settle the matter out of court.

Acquiescing in to the demand, she accompanied them to the office of UC-56 councillor Shahzad for negotiating a settlement. The family and the councillor were discussing the matter when the woman’s brother stormed in and shot her dead. The suspect fled the scene without resistance.

Speaking to Dawn, Gull claimed that the woman was planning to seek dissolution of her marriage so that they could tie the knot. He said it was not acceptable to her family who took her to the councillor’s office according to a plan and had her killed. He accused the woman’s family and the councillor of being involved in the killing.

He said police should have registered an honour killing case on his complaint but they refused to do so stating that “you are not the legal heir of the woman”. He said the family would pardon the killer after some time as is the practice in such cases.

LAW: A joint sitting of both houses of parliament had passed the Anti-Honour Killing Bill in October 2016. Under the law, if a woman is murdered in the name of honour by a close family member, he/she is liable to strict punishment even if pardoned by another family member. The law further calls for life sentence to “honour-killers” even if victim’s family forgives them.

Advocate Aftab Bajwa, a criminal law expert, said the government had yet to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrCP) to include the anti-honour killing sections. He said police in this case could have included section 311 of PPC so that no member of the woman’s family could pardon the killer(s) or they could have registered a case under 302(1) of PPC.

He said the case registered under these two sections could make the perpetrator go through a maximum 14-year imprisonment even if the family forgives the killer.

City Division Superintendent of Police (SP) Investigation Syed Karrar Husain told Dawn that they would include the honour killing charges in the case. He said after inclusion of Section 311 of PPC, the family could not forgive the killer. Police, he said, would investigate the case from all possible angles and arrest the killer.

Answering a question, he said police had registered a case on the complaint of victim’s husband who is the legal heir.

Dawn

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