ISLAMABAD, Nov 11: The National Assembly briefly discussed the Karo-kari issue on Tuesday with members suggesting amendment to the relevant laws to declare honour killing as a non-compoundable offence that could be tried in anti-terrorist courts.
However, winding up a debate on the issue, parliamentary secretary for interior Sanaullah Mastikhel said the existing laws provided remedy to deal with such crimes. He also announced that he was a Pathan first, then a Muslim and then a Pakistani.
The issue was raised by minority MNA from ruling party M.P. Bhandara through a resolution. Mr Bhandara was allowed to move his resolution out of turn after he threatened to walk out in protest against deputy speaker’s refusal to allow him to move the resolution.
Earlier, the deputy speaker had asked the member not to table the resolution and instead raise it at the next private members’ day. The member, however, argued that Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain had promised him during the last session that his resolution condemning the Karo-kari would be placed today, but the agenda of the day was silent about it.
When the deputy speaker observed that the resolution could not be taken as it was not included in the agenda, the member left his seat to stage a walkout, saying “then Mr speaker you should allow me to leave.”
However, he was stopped by the members of the treasury benches who also asked the chair to let him move his resolution as he had been assured by the speaker.
Through his resolution, Mr Bhandara demanded that the government should introduce severe punishments for those who murder their womenfolk in the name of honour.
“Nothing tarnishes the good and great image of Islam more than the treatment meted out to womenfolk in Pakistan,” he observed, adding that heinous crimes were committed against women but Pakistan, an Islamic state, did not provide any protection to them.
“What would be more unjust than when a ‘wali’ of a murdered woman accepts gratification and lets off the murderer,” he observed. “This is not permitted by Islam,” he asserted.
He also quoted statistics that 910 cases of Karo-kari were committed during 1997 to 2003 in Sindh and Punjab, out of which only 10 per cent were reported, and 25 persons were convicted. “Is this not a shame?” he asked.
Similarly, he added, in the NWFP, out of 239 cases, only 10 persons were convicted during the same period. “In this way our women are being butchered by an obscurantist, unIslamic custom called Karo-kari,” he lamented. He also called upon legislators, especially women members, to help legislate a law to abolish the practice of Karo-kari.
Tanvir Hussain Syed, parliamentary secretary for defence, while supporting the member on the Karo-kari issue deplored the practice of involving Islam and Holy Quran in every petty matter, and called for discouraging this practice.
Islam had never condoned such acts, he said and added that the tradition was the creation of feudal lords who used it to exploit the poor people. Mehnaz Rafi said at least 10,000 women had so far been murdered in the name of honour despite the fact that Islam gave all kinds of rights and protection to the women.
Maulana Noorul Haq Qazi said baby girls used to be buried alive before the advent of Islam and it was Islam which declared this act as un-Islamic. He said the protection and respect that Islam gives to women were not even provided by the European countries to their womenfolk.