LAHORE: Legal experts, rights activists and members of civil society at a discussion on Monday called for amendments in criminal law to strictly deal with cases of ‘honour’ killings of women.
The participants in the dialogue hosted by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also stressed upon the need to run awareness campaign to sensitise public and the law-enforcement agencies as well.
The proposed “Honour offences Amendment Bill 2016” was the main concern at the discussion that envisages amendments in sections 299, 302-C 310, 311, 338-E of PPC and section 345 of Cr.P.C. These sections carry punishment and pardon in offences affecting human body from hurt to murder.
At the start of the discussion, rights activist Sohail Akbar Warraich pointed out some conflicting judgments of higher courts in cases of ‘honour’ killings. He said unclear and weak criminal laws led to the complexity of judgments. He said amendments introduced in the past proved to be redundant.
However, Pakistan Bar Council member Azam Nazir Tarar was of the view that there was no need to introduce any major amendment in the existing laws but to change mindset of society including those responsible to exercise and enforce the law.
He said section 338-E of PPC, being a controlling provision of law, empowered trial courts to reject or accept pardon given by complainant to suspect(s).
Mr Tarar had the opinion that the role of legal heirs should come after the conclusion of the trial. He said deciding murder cases on the basis of compromises would be an easy way for judges to boost their case-disposal rate.
Discussing weak prosecution of cases, he said, for the sake of argument, if right of ‘wali’ was confiscated in murder case of social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch, still there would be meager chances of conviction of the suspect(s). LHCBA former president Abid Saqi, former IGP Tehseen Shah, prosecutor Khurram Khan, Ms Khawar Mumtaz, Advocate Sabahat Rizvi and Sarah Sohail were among the other speakers. Advocate Asad Jamal conducted the discussion.
In his concluding note, HRCP Secretary General I.A Rehman said the law alone could not change the situation but without changing law the situation could not be changed.