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Pakistan passes long-awaited anti-honour killing and anti-rape legislations

Pakistan passes long-awaited anti-honour killing and anti-rape legislations
07 October 2016 Current Affairs: Pakistan Parliament in a joint sitting on 6 October 2016 unanimously passed two bills, one seeking to curb murders in the name of honour and the other to punish rapists by use of modern technology of DNA testing in probes involving rape cases.

The two bills are titled as, Criminal law amendment (offences in the name or on the pretext of honour) bill, 2016 and Anti-rape (criminal laws amendment) bill, 2016.

Anti-Honour Killing Bill : The anti-honour killing bill states, relatives of the victim will be able to pardon the killer if he/she is awarded capital punishment; however, the culprit will have to face mandatory life sentence (25 years).

Under the existing laws, a close relative murdered a woman in the name of honour and was promptly pardoned by another close family member. Thus the murderer would walk away literally without any punishment.

About the Anti Rape Bill,

The legislation passed makes DNA test mandatory in investigations as part of the procedure. Through another amendment enhanced punishment has been provided for rape in police stations and rape of minors and mentally handicapped. Thus sex workers also get protection of the law against rape.

A recent study had shown that conviction in rape cases was a mere 2 per cent which means that 98 per cent rapists potentially got scot-free. This is largely because DNA test is not compulsory in rape case under the existing law.

Both the bills, initially moved by former Senator Sughra Imam, were passed unanimously by the Senate sometime back and subsequently moved in the Joint Sitting of the Parliament by Senator Farhatullah Babar on the expiry of Imam's term in the Senate.

According to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, nearly 1100 women were killed by relatives in Pakistan in 2015, while many more cases go unreported.


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