MULTAN: The trial court on Thursday rejected the appeal of the parents of Qandeel Baloch for the acquittal of their two sons saying they had pardoned them in their daughter’s murder case.

While rejecting the appeal, model court judge Imran Shafi after hearing the lawyers of both sides stated that the act of pardoning in honour killing cases could not be accepted.

The court inquired from Muhammad Azeem, the father of Qandeel, whether he knew what impact his appeal to pardon his sons would have on the overall case. Azeem stated that he did not have enough knowledge of the law but he pardoned his sons Aslam Shaheen and Muhammad Waseem.

The court asked him whether he had also pardoned the other arrested accused of the case. Azeem said he had pardoned his sons only and the fate of the remaining accused should be decided by court.

While adjourning the hearing of the case for Aug 24, the court stated that the final decision would be made after recording the statements of the remaining witnesses.

On Wednesday, the parents of Qandeel again submitted an affidavit to a local trial court seeking acquittal of their two sons. They said they had pardoned them. The affidavit was submitted by the defence counsel on behalf of Muhammad Azeem and Anwar Bibi, the parents of the slain model, who retracted their earlier statements against Qandeel’s brothers.

They stated that since the Anti-Honour Killing Laws (Criminal Amendment Bill), 2015, which bars pardoning killers in such cases, was passed several months after the killing of their daughter, it could not be applied in this case.

They also denied the allegation that Qandeel was killed for the sake of honour and requested the court to acquit her brothers under section 245 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

In January 2017, the Muzaffarabad (Multan) police had lodged an FIR under section 213 of PPC against the parents of Qandeel on the complaint of ASI Allah Ditta, the investigation officer, in which it was stated that Qandeel’s parents recorded their statements in court on Jan 19 and a few days later, on Jan 25, they submitted an affidavit. He said they had retracted their earlier statement against their elder son Aslam and there was a likelihood that they would do so in the case of the main accused Waseem, the younger brother of Qandeel, as well.

The IO further stated that he had seen the parents of Qandeel receiving an envelope (allegedly containing cash) from Aslam Shaheen outside court. “I have fulfilled their demand. Now they should record their statement in court in my favour,” he quoted Aslam as having said.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2019