Constable kills woman for ‘honour’

Lahore – A police constable killed her woman relative in the name of honour in factory area late Friday, police said.

Constable Waseem fired shots at 22-year-old Nabeela and a man, killing the woman  on the spot and wounding the man critically, it is stated.

The injured was taken to hospital while the alleged killer is on the loose. Police say they have started investigation.

A year since new laws came into force aimed at stemming the flow of ‘honour killings’, scores of young women in deeply conservative Pakistan are still being murdered by relatives for bringing shame on their family.

The shocking murder of Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch by her brother last July turned the spotlight on an epidemic of so-called honour killings and sparked a fresh push to close loopholes allowing the killers to walk free.

Long-awaited legislation was finally passed three months later in a move cautiously hailed by women ‘s rights activists.

But, more than a year on, lawyers and activists say honour killings are still occurring at an alarming pace.

At least 280 such murders were recorded by the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan from October 2016 to June of this year — a figure believed to be underestimated and incomplete. Weak prosecution and corruption have been blamed for injustice in such cases. There has been no change,” Benazir Jatoi, a lawyer who works for the independent Aurat Foundation, a women ‘s rights watchdog.

“In fact, the Peshawar High Court twice acquitted a man of honour crimes after this law was passed,” she added.

The new legislation mandates life imprisonment for honour killings, but whether a murder can be defined as a crime of honour is left to the judge’s discretion.

That means the culprits can simply claim another motive and still be pardoned, said Dr Farzana Bari, a widely-respected activist and head of the Gender Studies Department at Islamabad’s Quaid-i-Azam University.

They can do so under Pakistan’s Qisas (blood money) and Diyat (retribution) law , which allows them to seek forgiveness from a victim’s relatives — a particularly convenient means of escape in honour cases.

Bari called for a study on the murders of women over the past year to ascertain the scale of the problem.

The convoluted courts system also often sees police encouraging parties to enter blood money compromises, circumventing the beleaguered judicial system altogether.

“Forgiveness and compromise negates justice,” Jatoi said.

Asma Jahangir, one of Pakistan’s most acclaimed human rights lawyers, agreed, telling AFP: “The law will be implemented once the courts function.”


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