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Lawmakers seek new law on ‘honour’ killing

By: Imtiaz Ali

KARACHI: The members of the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution, urging the government to make honour killing (karo-kari) a non-compoundable offence and prosecute the killers under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Home Minister Manzoor Wassan revealed that a new secret force on the pattern of police’s Special Branch would be formed to prevent such killings and unearth hushed-up murders. He pointed out that a total of 197 cases of karo-kari were reported in Sindh during this year and 153 suspects had been detained in these cases.

In order to sensitise the police to properly investigate honour killing cases, a project with the financial assistance of United Nations has been launched, he added. The mover of the resolution, Nusrat Abbasi, believed that the police did not lodge FIRs in such cases. The PML-F legislator said that around 557 women had fallen victim to such abhorring practice in the province so far this year.

MQM’s minister Syed Sardar Ahmed suggested that the state itself should lodge FIRS in such cases. He also called for bringing amendments to the existing laws to make such killings non-compoundable.

Senior Minister Pir Mazharul Haq said that honour killing was not a custom but an evil crime. Minister for Culture Sassui Palijo said the increasing rate of karo-kari cases was linked to the lack of the will to implement the laws. However, she added the existing laws rather protected the suspect on account of violation of the so-called family honour.

PPP’s Anwar Mahar opined that such killings would be curbed when girls would be allowed to marry of their free will. Sardar Jam Tamachi Unar called for increasing literacy rate to stop these killings.

Meanwhile, MQM’s Bilquees Mukhtar drew the attention of the house towards cases of kidnapping, criminally assaulting and killing young girls. She demanded that such culprits be punished publicly to deter such elements from committing this crime. Home Minister Manzoor Wassan said that the government was cognizant of the situation and suspects were being arrested.

PPP’s Dr Nasrullah Baloch said that if the two kidnapped doctors of Sukkur were not released, he would be compelled to join the doctors’ protest. Home minister replied that the kidnappers belonged to Balochistan and hoped that the doctors would be recovered soon.

Highways in pathetic condition

Chairman Standing Committee on Finance Ghulam Qadir Chandio said that the National Highway Authority (NHA) was earning around Rs60 billion from Sindh through collection of toll tax but the highways remained in pathetic condition in the province. In contrast, he added, the NHA was properly looking after the highways in Punjab.

Waste dumping

Irrigation Minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo said that the Sindh government had decided to take up the issue of industrial waste dumping by Punjab in Sindh before the CCI (Council of Common Interests).

Responding to a point of order raised by MQM’s Heer Soho, the minister said that Sindh had suggested for establishing a treatment plant to treat the polluted water being released by the industries of Sadiqabad, Rahimyar Khan and other districts of Punjab before releasing it into Dharki, Mirpur Mathelo and other areas of District Ghotki.

ANP’s Amanullah Mehsud said that around 500 tankers were illegally fetching water from hydrants in his constituency, depriving the residents of drinking water. Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani promised to take action against such elements.

Rs800m fraud in Excise Dept

During the question-hour session, Excise and Taxation Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that inquiry into Rs800 million frauds was going on and three excise officials had been arrested while 23 others suspended. He, however, added that no action had so far been initiated against the officials of the National Bank of Pakistan who were also involved in the fraud of Motor Vehicle Tax.

Source: The News