HONOUR KILLING AND REMEDIAL LEGISLATION IN PAKISTAN

Abstract

This article explains how notion honor can act as catalysts for so-called honor-based violence when ideas of family, tribes, and community are challenged by women, and a number of recent and high-profile examples of honor crimes in Pakistan are i.e Qandeel Baloch a social media star killed by his own brother, Zeenat in Lahore was burnt alive by her own mother and Maria Bibi was set on fire in Muree for refusing to marry a man twice her age. This article examines the Honour killing in Pakistan, its causes, its relation with Islam and the remedial legislation in this regard and recommendations to curb the evil. Honour Killing has certain unique features which make honor killing even more heinous than murder. The killing of innocent wife, sister and other female relatives, on the allegation of ‘Siyahkari’ or ‘Karo-Kari’ has become a routine practice, rather a fashion, and it is a high time to discourage such kind of unwarranted and shocking practice, resulting in double murder in the name of so-called honor killing.

Keywords

Honor killing, Ghairat, Izzat, Karo Kari, Siah Kari, Zina Kari, Tora tori, Jirga system, Zina, patriarchy, Qazi, panchayats, ember test, token sentences, Qisas and Diyat Ordinance

Introduction

The woman is considered as an asset of her family. Its the male members of the family who decide her fate. Due to societal evils, lack of education, tribal customs, false interpretation of religion and use of negative approaches towards our natural or social needs the status of women has become like a commodity for domestic work and for sexual passion. It is the predicament of the Pakistani society that religion has been wrongfully interpreted by the Mullahs according to their own wishes. They do not preach the true meaning of Quran and Hadith in their proper context. In the same way, there is a misconception that women are inferior to men in Islam but it is a sheer misunderstanding because of the inadequate knowledge of the Quran and Hadith.

The offenses committed under the honor system include; honor killing, absconding of people from home, forced marriage, acid throwing, rape. Honor-based violence is a common occurrence within a variety of cultures, tribes, societies, and communities.

Honor killing is not the only crime committed in the name of honor, but simply the most brutal and violent one. Members in the family tend to support the honor killing of one of their own family member, agreeing that the family is the property and asset of men and boys. The practice of ‘honor killings’ is more prevalent in Pakistan and countries where the majority of the population is Muslim i.e Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Jorden etc. Islam does not authenticate it and clearly condemns such type of killings. The killing of women is mainly due to inhuman behavior of men, brutal customary, cultural and tribal practices across Pakistan in the name of so-called honor.

The honor killing has become a gigantic problem in Pakistan. This is considered social evil all over the world. Many women around the world live in constant fear. The offences committed under the honour system include; honour killing, plagiarism, absconding of people from home, telling lie and forced marriage under honour system, man is a head of a family who has to defend his family’s honour. Whereas, man who decides the fate of his daughter and sister including forced marriage and in case of her refusal; he is at liberty to kill her in the name of family honour. Customary traditions, jirgas are empowered to decide the cases including honour killing. ‘Ghairat (what is sacred and inviolable) Izzat (honour, dignity) and if Izzat is violated–then it is justified to kill and die for honour.The concept of honour changes from culture to culture and region to region it has been different names i.e Karo Kari in Sindh, Siah Kari (Balouchistan), Zina kari or tora tori in Khyber Pakhtuokhawa.

The concept of the honour has cultural, moral, tribal and social roots; the women are believed as bearer of family honour with chastity equated with abstinence from premarital and extramaterital relationship. Men involved in premarital and extramaterital relationship are viewed in differently. The killing of women for alleged or perceived involvement in premarital and extramaterital relationship, so as to restore one’s honour is practised in all parts of the Pakistan including the Central Punjab and Urban aras where literary rate is higher than the backwards parts of the country.

“Legally and morally speaking, no body has any right nor can anybody be allowed to take in his own hand to take the life of anyone in the name of the “Ghairat”. Neither the law of the land or religion permits so-called honour killing which amounts to murder (Qatal-i-Amd) simplicitor. Such iniquitous and vile act is violative of fundamental right as enshrined in Article 9 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan which provides that no person would be deprived of life or liberty except in accordance with law and any custom or usage in that respect is void under Article 8(1) of the Constitution.”[1]

It is important to note that, the crimes of honour are not restricted by gender. Men can also be the victims of honour killing by the family members of the woman with whom they are perceived to have an inappropriate relationship. Honour crimes although are targeting more often towards women, they are in no way restricted to women alone. In July 2004 by the Federal Minister of Interior presenting the following national statistics to the senate (Pakistan’s upper house).Between the period of 1998-2003, total reported killings were 4,101 in Pakistan. Out of which 1,327 were male and 2,774 were female. These figures are representative of the fact that, men also fall victim to honour crimes. [2]

In the role of execution for the crimes of honour it is not always the men who play the sole role, rather in many cases women play a crucial part in the killings. Women are also key role players in ensuring the initial limits of sexual regulations and can also be party to decisions to kill women, including their own daughters.

Honour killing is the practce of killing an ‘“adulterous” woman, and at times her illicit partner, to erase shame and restore honour. Honour killings are widespread through all provinces and tribal regions, with diferent names. In southern Punjab it is referred to as kala kali, as karo kari in Sindh, siyahkari in Balochistan and tor tora in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

What is Honour Killing ?

Human Rights Watch defines “honor killings” as follows:

Honor killings are acts of vengeance, usually death, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband–or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that “dishonors” her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.[3]

Honour killing is originally the product of a particular social interaction amongst members of the society which believes in a strong patriarchal structure. These killings are qualitatively different from other kinds of murders. In a strong patriarchal society the word honour’ is not measured with the worthiness of a man, but rather the honour lies in the women under the control of a man.

Causes Of Honour Killing In Pakistan:

  1. Women marrying men of their choice:

In Pakistan Women are not even allowed to give their opinion as a regars marriage of their choice. If a woman shows her desire to marry a person whom he likes she is believed wicked.

“Art. 9, of Constitution provides in clear terms that no person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law. Right to marry is a constitutional right in terms of Arts. 9 & 13 of Constitution of Pakistan 1973.”[4]

Islam also gives equal right to a woman to chose her partner for life but this right must be utilized with the domains prescribed by Qur’an and Sunnah.

  1. Women Seeking Divorce From Abusive Husbands:

Neither the religion nor Islam bound any person to remain in wedlock which is against his or her desire. The tradition of Prophet (Peace be upon him) is misinterpreted to restrain the woman to seek a divorce.

“Divorce is the most hated of all lawful (halal) things in the sight of Allah” [5]

If the spouse is not ready or either of the spouses is not willing to live, they have right to disolve the marriage by Talaq (Divorce) or by Khula. If the husband and wife are not living or cannot live together within the limits prescribed by the Allah they have right to dissolve the marriage by either of the ways prescribed by the injunction of Islam as laid down in Qur’an and Sunnah. In Islam, wife has right to dissolve the marriage by seeking the decree of Khula if she cannot live with her husband in the domain prescribed by Allah. Khula is a right conferred on the wife. In verse 228 of Chapter II of the Holy Qur’an “Women have rights against men similar to those that men have against them, according to the well-known rules of equity.”

The recorded traditions of Khula by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) have great significance to clear the concept.The classical instance of Khula is that of the wife of Sabit bin Qais (May Allah be pleased with him), Jamila to be found in various collections of Ahadith including Bukhari, Tirmazi, Abu Dawood, Nisai and Ibne Maja. But there are two versions on referring to Jamila and other to Habiba. Some commentators say that they relate two different wives of the same Sabit. The instance of Jamila, as stated in Mishkat-ul-Mussabih is that Jamila went to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and said that she did not blame her husband Sabit about his character or piety, but she feared” heresy in Islam”. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) asked her if she was prepared to return the garden given to her as dower, and on her replying “yes, Oh Prophet of Allah and even more” Prophet said to Sabit “take the garden and divorce her.”[6]

But it’s unfortunate that Muslims especially of Indo-Pak not strictly follow the Qur’an and Sunnah and adopt its cultural, regional and social norms. On 6th April 1999, Samia Sarwar, a 29-year-old mother of two, was killed in broad daylight in her lawyer’s office. She was seeking a divorce from her husband after suffering years of physical abuse. Her parents accepted her returning to their house but didn’t approve of her filing a case for divorce and was killed in 1999, at the request of her parents.

  1. Being Raped:

In the men, dominated society women are treated as a sexual tool for lust and for passion rather as a human being. The girls after rape are killed not only by the culprits but the family member of the victim.

  1. Premarital and Extramarital relationship:

In our society after the technological explosion, the Premarital and Extramarital relationship is increasing, mostly young male and female use Internet and other facilities for negative purposes. It is due to societal evils and lack of education and use of negative approaches towards our .natural or social needs.

  1. Fix Marriages:

In Pakistan it’s not considered adequate to ask the girls choice for marriage and most of the time they are informed about their future. Islam emphasizes on the consent of the woman in the marriage contract, a marriage without the consent of the woman is declared void.

  1. Karo-Kari for Disobedience:

In the province of the Sindh, women who are disobedient or the women who ask for their rights are declared Kari and killed. Sometimes a fence or husband also accuses his fiancee or wife of illicit relations if he does not like her or wants to marry someone else. In certain cases, if a girl refuses to marry a boy or turns down a marriage proposal, rejects offers of friendship, or leaves her husband, she is attacked with acid to permanently scar not only her face or body but also her soul.

  1. The desire of Property:

Islam gives right to inherit women, as men have the right to inherit but the share in inheritance is different because the financial obligations are always performed by men. In lndo-Pak women are disinherited from the property and if any woman desires for her prescribed share she bears severe consequences. Seizure of women’s share in the property is another common motive behind these crimes.

“Honour killing; violence against women in most of the cases is for the gain property, demanding the hand of a woman of choice, settling old scores and personal vendetta.”

Umer Din Versus State [PLJ 2015 Cr.C ( Lahore) 420]

  1. Weak Judicial System and Jirga System:

A major reason for this is dependence on informal justice systems or local chiefs. Lower Courts are commonly perceived as being inefficient and corrupt. Judicial proceedings are very time-consuming, and appeals also take a long time. People want a quick and cheap solution to their problems.

Tribalization of formal laws and wide acceptance of the jirga system has strengthened the outlook that this act has implicit official sanctions. Despite all advancement Pakistanis still engulfed in old customs, factions, and feuds. Even people let their beloved family members in the hand of jirgas and panchayats.

  1. Misuse ofQisasand Diyat Ordinance, 1990:

The killing of innocent women is mainly due to inhuman, violent customary practics across Pakistan’s conservative society in the name of so-called honor. The perpetrators easily get away due to loopholes in our legal structure. In addition, the mindset of our male-dominated judiciary and police contributes hugely to the plight of women they support and sympathize with the perpetrators who murder to restore family honor. This Ordinance allows the legal heirs of the victims to forgive the offender.

  1. weak state Institutions.

Law enforcing agencies and Courts view the honor of killing a personal problem to be dealt with by the family or tribe thereby accepting and giving credence to the tribal customs of the case being adjudicated by the jirga.

While studying the dynamics of honour crimes in Pakistan, the role of the police should also not be ignored. Local police usually turn a blind eye to these cases. In Sindh, police officers are often informed beforehand of incidents of Karo Kari. People usually go to the police station with the weapon of the crime and present themselves to the police. Since it is a crime of honor, the police are expected to give some compensation, and in most cases, police oblige and treat the perpetrators well, because deep down they think that the person has done something good. Sometimes the water or Sardar also informs the police about the occurrence of a crime and directs them not to take any action.

  1. A pervasive culture of violence against women:

Our society is based on gender-based society, girls child are not accepted by families in the manner as they deserve. Girls are subjected to discrimination throughout their lives. Girls are considered a curse rather a blessing. Violence against women is not considered as serious in the domestic level.

  1. Illiteracy:

Pakistan belongs to the third world nation, and the education system and literacy rate are not as high as required. Illiteracy and illiterate norms of our society are another cause for honor-based crimes.

  1. Caste Differences:

While caste differences are a frequent reason for honour killings in neighboring India and in Pakistan but they are not a major cause of these killings in Pakistan.

  1. Patriarchal society

Pakistan is a patriarchal society where the majority of women are reliant on men financially and in terms of protection. This dependency has resulted in the unconditional acceptance by women of discriminatory practices and inferior roles.

Islam And Honour Killing

The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) said at Arafat on the occasion of his farewell pilgrimage;” that your lives and property are sacred and inviolable as the sacred and inviolability of this very day.”

This practice has been specifically prohibited at the very inception of Islam which was prevalent as pre-Islamic custom but unfortunately, it is painfully shocking that even today an the era of modern technology they are being followed under the pretext of Ghairat or honour. It is true that people do not swallow such kind of insult, touching the honour of their womenfolk and usually commit murder of the alleged or perceived ‘Siyahkar’ in order to vindicate and rehabilitate the family honour, but it is equally true that no one can be granted a license to take the law in his own hands and start executing the culprits himself instead of taking them to the Courts of law.

“Killing of innocent people, especially women on the pretext of the ‘Siyahkari’ is absolutely un-Islamic, illegal and unconstitutional.[7]

There is no concept of so-called Honour crimes in Islam, instead; Islamic laws i.e. Qur’an and Traditions of our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has clearly declared that the human beings are respectable and can exercise freedom of will to do good and to avoid the evil.

Most of the time the honour crimes are amalgamated with Islamic law of Shariah and the Quranic injunctions and traditions of Prophet (Peace be upon him) are misinterpreted to justify honour based cultural crimes. Islam clearly condemns any kind of killing as the Quran says “whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors. (5:32).[8]

Islam gave so much value to the life of human beings that it compares the killing of one person (no distinction is made between male and female) to the killing of whole humanity. The Quran makes it mandatory upon all believers that they must respect the sanctity of life.

“It is not for a believer to slay another believer ….” (4: 92)

“And he who slays a believer willfully his reward is hell, where he will abide. Allah’s wrath is against him and He has cast His curse upon him, and has prepared for him a great chastisement. “(4:93) [9]

“Who do not invoke any god but Allah nor kill a soul, which Allah has forbidden, unjustly. nor commit adultery. He who does this shall be punished for his sin.”(25:68) [10]

It is Worth mentioning that the believers of Islam are not even allowed to divorce them, without establishing their accusation. We profess our love for Islam, but ignore clear Quranic injunctions regarding the rights of women. The Holy Qur’an says:

“And those who launch a charge against chaste women and produce not four witnesses (To support their allegation)….Flag them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after; for such men are wicked transgressors.”(24:4) [11]

Islam strictly prohibits murder and killing of any person without legal justification. Islam holds every soul in high esteem and does not allow any misconduct upon it. It does not allow people to take the law in their own hands and administer justice by themselves.

Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) narrated that the Messenger of Allah Hazrat Mohammad (P.B.U.H) said: The blood of a Muslim may not be legally spilled other than in one of three’ instances’ the married person who commits adultery; A life for a life; and one who forsakes his religion and abandons the community.(Al-Bukhari & Muslim). Honour killing does not fall into any one of the above-mentioned categories and has no justification at all for such killings in Islam.

Quran gives the solution for the problem of false accusation against a woman of Zina (adultery) .It is relevant here to refer the Verses of Surah Noor which are reproduced below:–

“As for those who accuse their own wives but have no witness except themselves, the evidence of one of them is that he shall swear four times by Allah and declare that he is true (in his charge). Then the fifth time he shall declare that Allah’s curse is upon him if be false (in his charge). (As for the woman), it shall avert the punishment from her if she swears four times by Allah that the man is false (in his charge). And the fifth time she invokes Allah’s wrath upon herself if he is true (in his charge).”(24:6-9) [12]

These verses may be understood by the following example:

In case, a man finds his wife committing adultery with a man, he considered it proper to kill both, the woman (his wife) and the man involved in the act. But Islam teaches us that in such a case when a husband accuses his wife of adultery, he must produce four witnesses, but if he can not produce four witnesses, he should go to the authorities and swear by God four times that what he is saying is true and swear a fifth oath involving the curse of God if he is telling lie. The punishment can be removed from the wife if she swears an oath four times by God that the husband is lying and a fifth oath that the curse of God should be upon her if he (the husband) is telling the truth but if she confesses or remains silent, she will be given the punishment fixed for adultery by the Court of Qazi( Judge).

A tradition describes; Saad asked the prophet; O prophet of God: Can I not rebuke the stranger man committing adultery with my wife before arranging four witnesses? The prophet responded “sure, not at all”. Than Saad said: “first of all I will kill him with my sword. “The prophet said: Listen to what your chief say. He is jealous of his honour. I am more jealous than he is and God is more jealous than I. (Muslim; 2754)[ 13]

This atrocious practice of honour killing violates all human rights standards enshrined in the Qura’an and Constitution of Pakistan. Islam strictly prohibits murder and killing without legal justification. There is no concept of “honour killing” in Islam. It is based on ignorance and disregard of morals and laws which cannot be abolished except by disciplinary punishments.

In light of the above, it is concluded here that honour killing is forbidden in Islam. But in Pakistan, people take law into their own hands. They do not wait for law enforcement agencies and Courts to decide.

Honour Killing a Cultural Evil

“Act of killing ones own daughter is an act of desperation on account of fact that a daughter being physically infirm cannot offer required resistance to save her life-Besides, the father being most powerful pillar supporting protective shelter if crumbled to ground annihilating their own daughters, God forbids what will happen with our society.–” [14] The word siyahkari is used in Baloch and Brahui areas of Balochistan and Zina Kari is used in Pashtun areas.

In 2008, Israr Ullah Zehri, a Pakistani politician in Balochistan, defended the honour killings of five women belonging to the Umrani tribe by a relative of a local Umrani politician Zehri defended the killings in Parliament and asked his fellow legislators not to make a fuss about the incident. He said, “These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them. Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid.[14]

“When a Karo Kari incident happens in Sindh, the woman’s body is not touched by her family and left abandoned. The bodies are taken by the Karo (man’s) family to Riverside or jungle. They are dragged by the legs and thrown into holes dug in the ground. These graves are not covered properly and abandoned completely. In some cases, the bodies are found stripped, as common belief is that since the victim has done something shameful it is not necessary to cover the body”. [15]

If a girl is suspected of having an illicit relationship and her family decides to kill her, she is prepared like a bride; henna (Dye prepared from the henna tree and used for temporary tattooing) is also applied to her hands and she is then taken to a jungle at dawn and axed to death. Usually, the first stroke is inflicted by her father.

Men who are accused of having illicit relationships and manage to escape death have to undergo an “ember test” to prove their innocence in both southern Punjab and Sindh. According to this custom, a hole is dug about seven feet in length and two and a half feet in width, in which a fire is lit. When the fire turns into ember the person accused of kara or Kala is made to walk on the bed of embers. If his feet burn he is found guilty.

In the view of honour crimes as part of custom and tradition, the role of local waderas, sardars, nawabs or maliks cannot be underestimated. A majority of them support the practice as an essential part of their customs. Local leaders have a pivotal role in the perpetration of honour crimes because people prefer to resort to their authority. Such cases are considered a matter of honour and shame and people want to keep them within their family, tribe or area rather than sharing the details publicly. This is why a large number of people still resort to local mechanisms of justice dispensation or dispute resolution. Kari Karo or Siyahkari is a trans-cultural problem of society.

Remedial Legislation in Pakistan Regarding Honour Killing

“Legally and morally, nobody has any right nor can anybody be allowed to take law and life of anybody in the name of “Ghairat”. [16]

In pre-partition cases, it was a norm that a husband could benefit from the exception of the grave and sudden provocation plea if he killed his wife or her alleged lover if they were guilty of adultery. The Courts were quite willing to give this plea a broad interpretation. In the initial post-independence years, Court continued to give token sentences to perpetrators of alleged honour killings.

The Indian Penal Code (Section 304, sub-section (1) devised by the British provided a partial defense of “grave and sudden provocation” to a husband who had killed an adulterous wife, converting the charge of murder into manslaughter. [17]

Post-independence, Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, laid down the law on murder as punishable by death or imprisonment for life. The same section provided a number of exceptions, the first of which provided that it “is not murder if the offender, while deprived of the power of self-control by grave and sudden provocation, causes the death of the person who gave the provocation.” Instances where men successfully pleaded a plea of “grave and sudden” provocation can be found in the reported case law of Mohammed Saleh vs. The State 181

Supreme Court Shariat Appellate Bench ruling in Federation of Pakistan v. Gul Hasan Khan, which paved the way for the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance, 1990, also declared the “provocation plea” to be un-Islamic. In compliance with the ruling, the Ordinance removed all exceptions, save self-defense, from the penal code.

Following the Supreme Court Shariat Appellate Bench’s 1989 decision, Federation of Pakistan v. Gul Hassan(19), where the Court found certain sections of the PPC (Pakistan Penal Code, 1860) and the Criminal Procedure Code (Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898) concerning murder and bodily hurt contrary to Islam, the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance was introduced. “Qisas and Diyat Ordinance essentially place the choice of prosecution wholly in the hands of the victim or her heirs, rather than the government.” The passing of this Ordinance profoundly affected the judiciary’s handling of honor killings because the victim’s “heirs” are often also her killer. Furthermore, the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance is riddled with exceptions and offense distinctions, particularly when it is known that the offender was a family member. Even now, the Ordinance is criticized within “Pakistani legal circles and in the press for being extremely confusing.”

The Qisas and Diyat Ordinance, 1990 – later enacted as Qisas and Diyat Act, 1997, under Nawaz Sharif’s second term in office. Earlier, perpetrators could claim “sudden and grave provocation” and resort to the “rhetoric of justice”. In a majority of cases their pleas were accepted by the judges and their punishments were minimized. Furthermore, the Qisasand Diyat Act creates a loophole in the legal instruments, as under this law most cases of honour killings, which are usually committed by family members, can be legally forgiven if the heirs of the victims receive monetary compensation in return.

Sections 309 and 310, as amended by the Ordinance, gave the walis or legal heirs of the victim the right to waive qisas and pardon the offender or accept compensation, thus making the offense of murder “compoundable”. Section 306 of the Penal Code provided that qatl-e-amd “shall not be liable to Qisas” where the “offender causes the death of his child or grandchild” how low-so-ever or “when any wali of the victim is a direct descendant of the offender.” In such cases, the Court was authorised to award diyat and a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison (Section 308).

One implication of cases involving an honour killing was that the issue could now be settled with the offender being forgiven by the victim’s next of kin or by payment of blood money to the family of the victim. The provision of “compoundability” particularly suited the rich and the powerful who could literally get away with murder by paying compensation to a victim’s family. In most cases, the murderer was a woman’s husband, brother, or son, and could be pardoned by other members of the family. Additionally, where a husband murdered his wife and happened to have children from that wife, he was automatically excluded from qisas punishment. The most egregious consequence of the qisas and diyat law has been that it turned to murder and honour killing into a private matter to be settled between the parties involved, rather than a crime against the State.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2004, which came into force in 2005, added a specific offence of “honour crime” committed “on the pretext of karo kari, siyah kari or similar other customs or practices” in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 1860. Amending Section 305 of the PPC, the Act barred the accused or the convict to act as wali if the murder is committed in the name of honour. Changes to this effect were also made in the “compoundability” provision in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1898. With regard to waiver or compounding of crimes committed in the name of honour, a proviso was added to Section 338-E, sub-section (1) providing that the Court may impose conditions that it deems “fit to impose with the consent of the parties having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case.” Changes to this effect were also made in Section 345 of the CrPC. More significantly, Section 311 of the PPC, as amended by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2004, authorises Courts to punish an offender in honour killing cases against whom the right of qisas has been waived or compounded with on the basis of fisad-fil-arz (aggravating circumstances). Fisad-fil-arz, as provided under Section 311, includes the past conduct of the offender, previous convictions, “the brutal or shocking manner in which the offence has been committed which is outrageous to the public conscience,” if the offender poses a potential danger to the community, or if “the offence has been committed in the name or on the pretext of honour.” The maximum penalty available is fourteen years. The same section provides a mandatory minimum of ten years when the offence has been committed in the name of honour.

In 2004, the government passed a law according to which murders commited in the name of honour would be considered intentional murder. However, the law has been made dysfunctional by the inclusion of the practices of qisas and diyat. In almost all cases the murderers are close relatives of the victims, such as the father, brother or husband, who also have the privilege to settle the issue on behalf of the killed woman. This implies that when a father, brother or husband kills his wife, sister or daughter, the family sits together and resolves the case before it goes to the police for investigation or to Court for decision. Even if it goes to the police or Court, the men still have the power to withdraw the case or grant the killer forgiveness.

Since 1999, after the murder of Samia sarwer several amendments to Pakistan’s Penal Code (PPC), particularly the 2004 amendment and the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act of 2006, purport to enact effective legislative action to end the honor killings and gender discriminatory legal practices in Pakistan. However, until the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance is amended from the PPC, the perpetrators of honor killings need not fear retribution because many of these crimes are committed by and with the consent of family members. Pakistan must revoke its Qisas and Diyat Ordinance to comply with international human rights law, which discourages discrimination against Pakistani women.

Recommendation To Menance The Evil

1) factual and real Islamic teachings according to Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) should be publicized.

2) The Islamic Right of marrying for adult couples should be acknowledged and publicized to minimize the chances of hidden/secret relations.

3) The accused couple should be married to one another after administration of proper punishment such as the practices of Caliph Abu Bakr (R.A) and Caliph Umer (R.A).

4) Print and Electronic media should contribute in arranging debates for spreading true teachings of Islam.

5) The platform of mosques should be encouraged to educate people about the crime of honor killing in order to nip this evil and to abstain from committing such crimes.

6) Organization striving for Human Rights and feminist activities should engage religious scholars and prayer leaders to reform public opinion.

7) Proper legislation on the part of government should be done in the light of recommendations of the constituted Islamic Ideology Council Pakistan

8) The illetcracy and social evil and customs should be eradicated.

9) The legisation should legislate such a law which discourage the perpetrator and declare such perpetrator desperate and degerous criminal.

10) In Section 311 the word “may” should be substituted by the word “shall “ which makes the Judge mandatory to punish the culprit with Death or Imprisonment for life even the Walis of the victim has waived or compounded their right of Qisas.

11) The offence should be declared “offence against state and society”.

12) Special form of procedure should be adopted for the speedy disposal of the Honour bases crimes.

13) Access to justice must be ensured and Jirga and Panchayat system must be banned in Honour based crimes.

14) Reforms in the Administration of Justice be made which eradicate exploitation of people in the Courts.

REFERENCES

  1. MuhammadAkram khan versus The State (PLD 2001 SC 96)
  2. The News, 10 July 2004
  3. Violence Against Women and Honor’ Crimes”. Human Rights Watch
  4. Imran Ahmed Versus Federation of Pakistan [PLJ 2014 Karachi 90 (DB)]
  5. Sunan Abu Dawud Hadith No.2178
  6. Mishkat-ul-Mussabih (volume II, page 703)
  7. Khadim Hussain and another Vs. The State (PLD 2012 Balouchistan 179)
  8. AL Quran, Surah Maida verse 32
  9. AL Quran, Surah Nisa Verse 92, 93
  10. AL Quran, Surah Furqan Verse 68
  11. AL Quran Surah Noor Verse 4
  12. AL Quran, Surah Noor Verse (6-9)
  13. Sahih Muslim
  14. Hussain, Zahid (2008-09-05). “Three teenagers buried alive in ‘honour killings’“. Times Online (London)
  15. Shirkat Gah, “Karo Kari, Tor Tora, Siyahkari, Kala Kali”, 2001, p. 16.
  16. Rozi Khan Versus State and others (PLJ 2013 Cr.C. (Peshawar) 821)
  17. (Mangal Ganda vs. Emperor A.I.R. 1925 Nagpur 37; and Emperor vs. Dinbandhu A.I.R 1930 Calcutta 199.)
  18. Mohammed Saleh vs. The State (PLD 1965 SC 446.)
  19. Federation of Pakistan versus Gul Hassan Khan (PLD 1989 SC 633)

Authored By:
CH. QAMAR ZIA LANGRIAL
Advocate
L.L.M
tigerlangrial@yahoo.com

Note: This article was originally published in PLJ Law Site. We are sharing it here for public information and knowledge.