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Senate likely to clear bills against rape, honour crime

By:Peer Muhammad

ISLAMABAD: The upper house of parliament is likely to pass the Anti-Rape (criminal laws amendment) Bill 2014 and Anti-Honour Killings (criminal laws amendment) Bill 2014 on Monday (today) following the endorsement of the Standing Committee on Law and Justice.

The report on the draft bill of the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice on the Anti-Rape Laws Bill 2014 was presented in the house on Friday.

The committee has already cleared the bill, which proposes changes in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Law of Evidence.

The Anti-Honour Killing Bill 2014 had previously been cleared by the committee and presented to the house. Under the Anti-Honour Killing Amendment Bill 2014, amendment is made to make it non-compoundable under which a convicted person cannot escape culpability after giving blood money — a long-standing practice in Pakistan.

Both amendment bills were moved in the house by PPP Senator Sughra Imam a year ago and the committee almost took its time to clear them after thorough discussion. “I am hopeful that both bills will be passed unanimously in the house as we have succeeded in developing consensus over both the bills,” said the mover and drafter of the bills Sughra Imam.

The Anti-Rape Laws (the criminal law Amendment) Bill 2014, seeks to make amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code, Code of Criminal Pro­cedure and Qanoon Shahadat Order.

The statement of the objects and reasons of the proposed bill provides that “Rape is a heinous crime, an act of violence that ruins the lives of victims. In Pakistan, rape cases are reported and registered, however, the conviction rates of the accused are abysmally low.”

Under the proposed law, disclosing the identity of a rape victim would be a punishable offence. The legislation seeks to add Section 228-A to PPC clause 1, which reads: “Whoever prints or publishes the name or any matter which may make known the identity of any person against whom an offence under Section 376 is alleged or found to have been committed shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to a fine.”

Express Tribune