A joint session of the Parliament on Thursday unanimously passed anti-honour killings and anti-rape bills to address loopholes and lacunae in the existing laws to protect rights of women.
PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar moved both the bills, “the Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offences in the name or pretext of Honour) Bill, 2016,” and “The Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offences relating to Rape) Bill, 2016,” in the house and they would become effective as soon as the president signs them.
According to the Anti-Honour Killing Bill, “Where all the Wali do not waive or compound the right of Qisas, or if the principle of Fasad-fil-Arz is attracted, the court may, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, punish an offender against whom the right of Qisas has been waived or compounded with death or imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either description for a term of which may extend to fourteen years as Ta’zir:”
“Provided that if the offence has been committed in the name or on the pretext of honour, the punishment shall be imprisonment for life,” the bill says.
The bill further says that, “Death or imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to fourteen years as Ta’zir, or if the offence has been committed in the name or on the pretext of honour, imprisonment for life.”
According to Aurat Foundation’s statistics 432 women were reportedly killed in the name of honour in Pakistan in 2012, 705 in 2011, 557 in 2010, 604 in 2009 and 475 in 2008.
These figures do not include unreported cases or, indeed, the number of men who are often killed alongside women in the name of honour.
The Anti-Rape Bill passed unanimously by the parliament says that, “Whoever commits rape of a minor or a person with mental or physical disability, shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and fine.”
“Whoever being a public servant, including a police officer, medical officer, or jailor, taking advantage of his official position commits rape shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and fine,” it says.
The Anti-Rape Bill says, “Where an offence under section 376, section 377 or section 377B of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 (XLV of 1860), is committed or attempted to have been committed or is alleged to have been committed, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) samples, where practicable, shall be collected from the victim, with his or her consent or with the consent of his or her natural or legal guardian, and the accused during their medical examinations conducted under section 164A, within optimal time period of receiving information relating to the commission of such offence.”
“The DNA samples collected under sub-section (1) shall at the earliest be sent for investigation to a forensic laboratory whereat these shall be properly examined and preserved,” it says. The maximum punishment for the offence is death or imprisonment for life and fine.
Speaking on the anti-honour killing bill, members of PPP urged the government to make the law non-compoundable to prevent the honour killings of women.
They, however, voted to pass the bill in its presence form, saying they would later strengthen it further by introducing new amendments in it. -Business Recorder