The recent spate of honour killings, high-profile and otherwise, left a gruesome mark on Pakistan’s history, but from these horrible incidents came the impetuous for something momentous.

The joint session of both houses of Parliament on Thursday passed the much delayed Anti-Honour Killing Laws (Criminal Amendment Bill) 2015 and the Anti-Rape Laws (Criminal Amendment Bill) 2015 –  strong worded, necessary pieces of law that have fixes several loopholes and instituted harsher punishments.

When these laws are seen in the context of the Women Protection bill 2016 and minority family bills such as the Hindu Marriage Act, it becomes undeniable that under this government the protection of women rights, minority rights and reform has been prioritised. The reform is piecemeal, delayed and much compromised, but it has come nonetheless.

The recent laws are perhaps the strongest in this line. Under the new rape legislation DNA testing – a common practice amongst all modern law enforcement – was finally given the status of primary evidence. Changes to the law of evidence has allowed women to give evidence in-video and more openly. Punishments have been made harsher, and in the case of an abuse of power, such as a doctor or police officer, the punishment ranges from life imprisonment to the death penalty.

The anti-honour killing laws removes the much criticised lacuna in these sorts of cases, by making a strict punishment necessary even if the relatives of the victim have forgiven the suspect. With other smaller provisions, these laws make the conviction of these criminals much easier, and the deterrent much stronger.

The legislature has finally asserted its influence over the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and the flawed conventions of the judiciary. These are commendable achievements, albeit watered down, and the drafters, sponsors, and supporters of this legislative effort must be given praise.

However, the battle is not over yet; as the cases of Rinkel Kumari, Asia Bibi and other women show, more than the law itself, it is outside pressure, lack of proper forensic equipment and training that is the real detriment. To take full advantage of these new laws, the government needs to change it’s policies.

Forensic labs are only active in major urban cities, and must become much more commonplace to really affect conviction rates. Furthermore, unless courthouses are protected and police officers trained in ignoring pressure, these changes will pale against an angry righteous mob that can bend the law to it’s will.