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Centre asks IGs to invoke ATA in women killing cases

ISLAMABAD: The federal government took a bold initiative on Friday in a bid to stop indiscriminate killings of women in the name of honour as inspector-generals of the four provinces have now been proposed in clear words to start invoking Anti-terrorism Act of 1997 (ATA) on the pattern of gang-rape against women murderers in the future.

The provincial chiefs have also been told that police officers should become complainant in the FIRs to discourage reconciliation in the courts. The federal government has also made a bold confession in its communication in the name of inspector-generals of police and bosses of the interior ministry that “one thing which has come out clear is the abdication of responsibility by the state”.

Former Balochistan IG Tariq Khosa, who is now heading the National Police Bureau (NPB), and is head of the Gender Crimes Centre at Islamabad, has suggested for the first time steps which might help control rising trend of violence against women in the society.

The new code might help Tariq Khosa to earn more respect from human rights bodies, who are already paying him rich tributes for his extraordinary role and understanding the issue of violence against women.

The sacrifice of innocent Baloch women buried alive in the desert seems to have finally convinced authorities at Islamabad that this was the time to act and should apply a zero tolerance in dealing with the crimes against women.

The unprecedented code for the police chief has been written by Tariq Khosa after attending a meeting of the Senate committee on human rights in parliament and one in the office of Information Minister Sherry Rehman.

The two-page letter was sent to the IGs of the four provinces along with its copies to Adviser on Interior Rehman Malik and Senate body chief SM Zafar.Widely-respected Tariq Khosa is presently monitoring the issue of burial of women in Balochistan and this two-page letter, which he had drafted, might give a new direction to the police to deal with honour killing cases on modern lines.

As genuinely worried about the rising violence against women, Tariq Khosa seems to have tried to revive the lost morale and confidence of the police force to deal with the issue of violence against women.

Meanwhile, in his report to the four provincial chiefs, Tariq Khosa writes that recent media exposure of an honour killing case of district Nasirabad, Balochistan has generated a national debate on the reprehensible practice of honour killings.

The Senate committee on human rights debated on the reprehensible practice of honour killing, while the committee also took up the issue and the federal minister for women development has held a meting of relevant stakeholders in this regards.

Khosa writes that one thing which has come out clear is the abdication of responsibility by the state. The police have to shoulder major responsibility in the prevention against and investigations and prosecution of the perpetrators of violence against women.

Khosa writes: “As secretary of National Public Safety Commission and member of the National Police Management Board, I implore you to act. Police has been like a silent spectator, helpless against this feudal and primitive mindset. Let us become proactive and take the initiative as leaders of the law enforcement and come down hard against all the influential people who support this medieval practice. We are not living in the land of manimals.” In his report to the provinces, Tariq Khosa has recommended: “Let police or a government official become complainant in FIRs to be recorded in case of honour killing.”

He reminded the police force: “Donít you remember one line FIR of murder cases recorded by SHOs before independence during the British era? On receipt of information, the police best officer may record FIR and proceed to record evidence. This will help the police in avoiding a cooked up version of killers and perpetrators of murders of our women folk.”

Likewise, Khosa writes: “All honour killing cases must be declared special report cases in which progress will be personally monitored by the district police officers and DIGs. Let the DPOs hold meeting with the district judges and request them not to allow compromise during the stage of trial of the cases of honour killing. A victim mother is contracted to forgive the killer husband or son in our special environment. Let police and the judiciary try to discourage such practices.

“I propose to invoke Anti-terrorism Act 1997 in cases of honour killing. If gang-rape is an act or terror, why cold blood killings of women can’t be pursued as gruesome acts creating panic and terror in our society?” Khosa told the provincial police chiefs.

“Laws enacted through parliament reflect the collective will and wisdom of the people. It is time now to request legislators to display political will and provide leadership in helping reduce violence against women in our society.”

Khosa wrote: “Gender Crime Centre in the National Police Bureau will prepare a monthly assessment of violence against women, particularly cases of honour killings and post reports on NBR Web site. Kindly direct the additional IGs, DIGs of investigations and crimes branch to send monthly reports to GCC.”

“This is the least we can do for the women of Pakistan who will respect the police if we show empathy. Mistrust that they have for the police can gradually lead to the trust and support, provided we are willing to make an effort,” Khosa wrote. “I hope you will try and make a difference,” he concluded in the letter sent to all concerned at the federal and provincial level.
Source: The News