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Qisas, Diyat must come after trial: experts

March 31, 2004

ISLAMABAD, March 30: No offence should be compounded under Qisas and Diyat unless the trial is completed after which the legal heirs of the victim may demand Qisas or compound the offence.

This consensus was reached at the three-day consultations on "The Concept of Justice in Islam in Reference to Qisas & Diyat Ordinance (Act II of 1997)" organised by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) from March 25 to 27 here.

The participants argued that the circumstantial evidence must not be allowed to resile even if the witnesses turn hostile. Justice (retired) Abdul Karim Kundi said the law of Qanoon-e- Shahadat did provide clear provisions to this effect but unfortunately the law had not been enforced in its true spirit.

It was unanimously spelled out on the occasion that the offences under Qisas and Diyat were directed against the legal order of the state as the state was responsible for the life and property of its people.

However, the legal heirs of the victim were vested with the right to demand Qisas or compound the offence and accept Diyat. But this does not stop the state to try the offence and punish the offender, the participants said.

It was unanimously observed that killing in the name of "Ghairat" (generally known as honour killing, Karo Kari and Siya Kari), had no relation to Islam at all. The participants also underlined that wherever this offence was rampant, the state must take strict measures to check it and stop the application and misuse of the law of Qisas and Diyat. The offence, they said, must be made non-compoundable in such cases and the offenders be given exemplary punishments to provide deterrence to the potential perpetrators.

It was also observed that women who were victim of domestic violence should be compensated. Since it's the responsibility of the state to provide justice and protection to its people, specially to the oppressed sections of the society, even in cases where the offence is being compounded, compensation should be made mandatory for the women/families and the accused must be punished under Tazeer.

It was strongly recommended that there was no provision in Quran and Sunnah that a person who was guilty of committing murder of his wife be exempted from Qisas in cases where minor children were left behind as legal heirs.

Therefore the present law must be amended. The participants unanimously opined that Vani/Swara and Watta Satta (exchange marriages) were the pre-Islamic traditions and had no scope in Islam.

The participants were also of the view that the amount of Diyat should be treated as compensation and not inheritance. The majority was of the view that the parameters should be prescribed in Section 338F, Pakistan Penal Code and that the judiciary must be trained in Shariah law.