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IHC rules ‘honour’ is no licence to kill

By: Malik Asad

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Friday dismissed the appeal of a man against his death sentence awarded for murdering his wife and son, saying that immoral character of a wife does not give the husband a license to kill.

Zahidur Rehman had murdered his wife of 10 years Saima and son Wali Rehman in 2001 and was convicted by a sessions judge in 2004. In arguing the appeal, the convict’s counsels took the plea that he committed the crime when he saw his wife naked, “probably in the company of some person”.

Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman and Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan of the IHC rejected the claim for no evidence was provided.

For the sake of argument, if it is presumed that the motive for the offence was immoral character of the deceased wife, the same could not be a cause to the appellant to commit her murder and then the murder of his son as well.

The same cannot even be taken as mitigating circumstances, as it would amount to granting a license to kill to everyone to kill his wife and come up with the excuses that she was of immoral character,” the judges said in their order dismissing the appeal.

Human and women rights activists hailed the order with the conviction that it would set a precedent for rejecting the plea of “honour killing”.

Dr Farzana Bari, an activist, while welcoming the court decision, said due to some lacuna the murderers after taking innocent lives especially their dependant wives or other blood relatives tried to justify their stance by giving it the name of honour killing.

Ikram Chaudhry, a senior lawyer in his comments said the courts passed judgments in such type of cases that supported the stance of murderer as he averted the death penalty.

Rehman, a former employee of Pakistan Tobacco Company killed his wife and son on June 29, 2001 at his residence in F-10/4 and was arrested by the Golra Police on the same day.

He married Saima on December 25, 1991 and then left the service and started his own company “Pure Milk.”

According to the prosecution witness Major (retired) Mian Zaheer Ahmed the then IG Police Islamabad, the murderer after committing the crime telephoned him and desired to meet him. On enquiry, he disclosed that he had killed his wife and son.

Ahmed transmitted the message to mobile police and Rescue 15 and a sub inspector Abdul Majid arrested Rehman from his factory. The police also recovered a repeater gun from his house. Majid, another prosecution witness said that after killing his wife and son, the murderer locked the dead bodies in the house.

Mohammad Zafar, the father of Saima gave the statement that his son-in-law was selling the property of Saima and 20 days prior to killing, on the demand of Rehman, he paid Rs400,000 to him but he asked for Rs700,000. When the amount could not been paid, he insisted Saima on selling her plot in Lahore. Rehman also threatened to kill his daughter if she did not provide him the documents of the plot. According to Zafar, his daughter in order to save her life gave Rehman the documents. Despite that he killed her after two days.

According to the court documents, Rehman, during the trial denied killing his wife and son, however, did not produce defence evidence.
Source: Dawn