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Judges term Karo-kari ‘highly un-Islamic’

KARACHI: Senior practising and retired judges unanimously condemned honour killing and considered it highly un-Islamic, however, differed on various clauses of the Qisas & Diyat Ordinance. They also agreed for an accountability process for judiciary.

The third and the final day focus group comprising Justice Saleemuzzman Siddiqi, Justice Saleem Akhtar, Senator Iqbal Haider, ML Shahani and Kamal Azfar pointed out how laws are made in Pakistan without the consensus of the stakeholders and the negative role of the state, judiciary and legislators.

They were speaking at a meeting initiated by the National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW), government of Pakistan, in order to obtain views from various sections of the society from all over the country and formulate a report, which would be presented to the government and later will be moved to parliament.

Speaking at the session, Kamal Azfar said the 1973 Constitution was made after a consensus and there was no need to bring a new law from back doors. Any new law should be framed after discussing it openly and that also through parliament.

Iqbal Haider said that religion and state should be separated and the Qisas & Diyat Ordinance and the Hudood laws should be amended, if not repealed. According to Haider, the state does not provide security to the judges and the record proves that the judges have been killed in the past if they tried to implement and enact a law against the vested interests of the influential and extremists.

However, Justice Saleemuzzaman Siddiqi stated that religion and state could not be separated as Islam is a complete religion and it describes a complete way of life as to how a man should treat his children, wife, or any other human being. He stressed on having a meeting of a larger group of people together at one platform for an objective discussion.

According to him, section 310 of the Pakistan Penal Code strictly prohibits Swara/Vani, but unfortunately due to the tribal practices and illegal influence of feudal lords the law is not enforced.

ML Shahani asked the commission to study the judgments made so far in Karo-kari cases so that the loopholes could be identified and the Supreme Court should be asked to review the judgments in order to avoid further similar judgments in future.

Justice Saleem Akhtar said the lower and high courts should be constantly monitored and refresher courses should be conducted for the judges.

Earlier, criticising the Citizenship Act, Justice Majida Razvi said it was very gender-biased and discriminated women. She also laid out the methodology of research, study and compilation of the report by the NCSW, which, she said, would be made public after finalisation.

Syeda Viquar-un-Nisa Hashmi, the research associate of NCSW, said that a similar session would be held in Quetta this month, followed by another in Peshawar, and the concluding session would be held in Islamabad.

Source: The News

Date:12/7/2003

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