Many feared this day would never come; that their protests would fall on deaf ears and concerns would go unaddressed. However, it seems like our public representatives may yet repay our faith in them. Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights on Tuesday recommended disbanding the obsolete Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). After being almost universally criticised for its obsolete mindset and conduct by the public, the CII has finally found strong opponents in the halls of the Parliament.

The landmark recommendations of the committee go beyond tentative suggestions. Strong, precise and frank language is used to hold the CII responsible for the rise in incidents of violence against women by propagating a negative attitude. It questions the constitutional basis of the CII and has declared the body a useless addendum to the parliament (which incidentally draws Rs100 million per fiscal year from the budget). In the words of the Committee Senator Nasreen Jalil – who demonstrated that the body does not know modern legislation – “not accepting DNA tests as evidence in rape cases shows the backwardness of members of the council.” A statement that could not have been put any better.

While this brave and blunt appraisal by the committee and Senate members deserves our applause, it has done much more to deserve our adulation. As well as recommending the disbanding of the body, the Senate committee has also put forward prudent proposals to curb the menace of honour-killings.

Chief amongst them is the appeal to the government to ban the use of Qisas and Diyat laws in honour-killing cases. This has been a constant demand by human rights monitors across the country – and the globe too. The infamous “blood money” laws have allowed the same family who had murdered a woman to forgive her killers (themselves) under the provisions of these laws. The fact that this loophole has existed and was being exploited since 1990 (26 years), shows the abject failure of our parliament’s prime function – creating and reforming law.

However, the legislature still has the chance to redeem itself. The Prime Minister’s special assistant on legal affairs has recently restated the desire of the ruling party to reform the Qisas and Diyat laws to make a 7-year sentence for murder compulsory. The Senate has passed several bills - such as the Anti-Honour Killings Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Anti-Rape Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill - only for them to fail in the National Assembly.

Currently, there is political will, widespread opposition of the CII, a mountain of legal evidence detailing the problem caused by these laws and the support of the people for reform. Now is the time to turn all of this into actionable laws that help curb the heinous practice of honour killings and the mindset that enables it – and the first step is disbanding this archaic body. Godspeed and good luck to the Senate.