National News

Parliament passes bill against rape and honour killings

As part of pro-women legislation, the Parliament unanimously passed on Thursday the anti-honour and anti-rape bills.Under the new law, relatives of the victim would only be able to pardon the killer of capital punishment, but they would still face a mandatory life sentence of twelve-and-a-half years.

In the anti-rape bill, a provision to conduct DNA tests on both the alleged victim and perpetrator has been added for the first time.

Rape of minors, as well as the mentally and physically ill, would become punishable by death.

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“Laws are supposed to guide better behaviour, not allow destructive behaviour to continue with impunity,” former senator Sughra Imam, who initially tabled the bill, told media.The amendments passed Thursday and published on the National Assembly website mandate judges to sentence someone who kills in the name of “honour” to life imprisonment, even if they have been forgiven, said senior opposition lawmaker Farhatullah Babar.

“Even if the close family members pardon the murderer, the court is bound to send him to jail for 25 years,” Babar told AFP.

Some 500 women are killed each year in Pakistan at the hands of family members over perceived damage to “honour” that can involve eloping, fraternising with men or any other infraction against conservative values that govern women’s modesty.

In a majority of cases, the victim is a woman and the killer is a relative who escape punishment by seeking forgiveness for the crime from family members.

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