ISLAMABAD, July 29: After the enforcement of the Qisas and Diyat law, the number of murders in Pakistan have increased and the rate of convictions has gone down, as courts have been approving compromises to get rid of work-load without attempting to ascertain whether or not the offence is compoundable under the law.
According to the data collected by Tahir Wasti, research scholar from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, as many as 60,540 murders were committed in the country from 1981 to 1990, while the number of murders committed between 1991 and 2000 increased to 86,510 when the Qisas and Diyat law was enforced.
“The courts are responsible and not the executive agency for the misuse of Qisas and Diyat law. To prove offence of Qisas, the evidence of the standard of Tazkiya tul Shahood is essential and that can only be ascertained after holding trial,” he said.
The country’s courts, Mr Wasti stated, allowed the compromise before the recording of evidence without even ascertaining whether the offence was compoundable or not. If the evidence was not of the standard of Tazkiya tul Shahood, the courts had the powers to convict the accused under Tazir.
The number of total murders committed in 1981 were 4,736; 1982, 4,707; 1983, 4,636; 1984, 5,104; 1985, 5,345; 1986, 6,076; 1987, 6,486; 1988, 6,837; 1989, 7,928; and in 1990, 8,685.
After the enforcement of the Qisas and Diyat law, the number of those murdered in 1991 were 7,328; 1992, 6,943; 1993, 7,258; 1994, 8,303; 1995, 9,828; 1996, 9,062; 1997, 9,304; 1998, 10,246; 1999, 9,332; and in 2000, 8,906.
It is the first research work on the law by any scholar as so far not even the Supreme Court or the Pakistan Law Commission has gathered any such data.
Talking to Dawn, Mr Wasti said that in the last 10 years, there had been 30 executions in the Multan jail. The number of convicts, whose death was confirmed by the Supreme Court, were 180 in the jurisdiction of the Lahore High Court, Multan bench.
Only those 30 people, who could not enter into a compromise deal, were sent to the gallows, while about 150 convicts, whose death sentences were confirmed by the SC, came out of jail as a result of a compromise as provided under the law.
The victim family normally agrees on a lower amount of compensation even when the trial has not been concluded by a sessions court. If the sessions court convicts an accused, the victim party would normally demand more. But if the appeal of the convict was rejected by the high courts and the Supreme Court, the victim party would demand big amounts like in the case of Mianwali, where pardon was granted by the victim party on the payment of eight million rupees and eight girls.
Litigation in murder cases, the scholar said, took place only when both the parties were of the same social status. Most murders, he added, were committed at the instance of highly influential people or terrorists, who, by hook or by crook, forced the victim’s family to enter into a comprise.
Mr Wasti said that during his research, he had come across cases that influential parties and terrorist groups had abducted the members of the victim party to force them to enter into a compromise.
The law of Qisis and Diyat, whether good or bad, he said, was one of those laws, which were enforced on the insistence of the judiciary and that, too, by the apex court.
“This law is judge-led legislation, as the Supreme Court, headed by the then Chief Justice Mohammad Afzal Zullah had insisted time and again, that ordinance be promulgated immediately.”
Lord Macualy drafted Indian Penal Code in five years in 1836, but it was promulgated in 1860 by the British rulers. The research scholar, however, said that there were many other factors for the increasing number of murders, including the population growth.
The Pakistani society, he said, was not tuned to ethos of the Qisas and Diyat as applied in the country. The conviction of those charged under section 302 of the PPC was only one per cent.