Senate passes bills against rape, honour killing

Published March 2, 2015
Honour killings are common throughout the country, claiming the lives of hundreds of victims every year. -AFP/File Photo
Honour killings are common throughout the country, claiming the lives of hundreds of victims every year. -AFP/File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Upper House on Monday passed four bills including anti-honour killings and anti-rape laws.

The Senate passed Anti-Rape Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill, 2014, and Anti-Honour Killings Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill, 2014, moved by Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Senator Syeda Sughra Imam.

Senator Sughra Imam said that honour killings are common throughout the country, claiming the lives of hundreds of victims every year. She quoted the Aurat Foundation’s statistics, saying that 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 women were killed in 2008.

Imam said the above figures do not include unreported cases or, indeed, the number of men who are often killed alongside women in the name of honour.

“In order to deter and prevent honour killings in Pakistan it is necessary to amend the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, to address the loopholes and lacunae in the existing laws,” the PPP Senator said. Imam had tabled the bill in Senate on February 24, 2014.

“In Pakistan, rape cases are reported and registered, however, the conviction rates of the accused are abysmally low. According to the figures revealed in Senate, in the last five years for instance, of the 103 reported rape cases registered in the Islamabad Capital Territory none of the culprits or accused have been convicted or brought to justice,” the PPP Senator said.

Imam said the purpose of the bill is to address lacunas in the existing laws in order to improve conviction rates, and bring the culprits within the ambit of the law.

“The objective of the bill is to amend the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and the Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order, 1984 to provide justice to the victims’ of this heinous crime by convicting the criminals responsible for this offence,” she added.

The Senate also passed ‘the Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Rape (Prevention and Punishment) Bill, 2014’ moved by PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar.

According to the statement of the bill, the convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1975.

He said that Pakistan signed the convention in 2008 and thereafter ratified the convention in 2010 while ratification of the convention requires enabling legislation to reflect the definition and punishment for "torture".

“Although some provisions relating to the matter exist in the Pakistan Penal Code, they neither define ‘torture’ as clearly as in Article 1 of the said convention nor make it a criminal offence as called for by Article 4 of the said convention,” the mover said.

“The objective of the bill to protect Pakistani citizens and of all other persons for the time being in Pakistan from all acts of torture, custodial death and custodial rape,” he added.

The Upper House also passed ‘the Privatisation Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2014’ moved by Senator Sughra Imam to amend the Privatisation Commission Ordinance, 2000. The statement of the bill said that the privatisation process in Pakistan must be entirely transparent, judicious and fair.

“In order to guarantee transparency it is essential that all officials’ involved or overseeing the privatisation process must be free from any personal interest, prejudice or conflict of interest, otherwise the entire privatisation process will become an exercise in controversy,” the mover added.



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