LAHORE / RAHIM YAR KHAN: A 19-year-old girl was killed in Rahim Yar Khan on Monday allegedly by her father and brother who suspected her of having an illicit relationship with a man in the neighbourhood. An FIR has been registered against Ameen, a resident of Ahsanpur, and his son Fida Hussain following a complaint by Khair Muhammad, an uncle of the deceased. It said the suspects shot the girl at their home following an argument over her affair with a neighbour.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mehmoodul Hassan said while FIRs were registered in incidents of honour killings, culprits were seldom taken to task. He said the complainants, who are members of the same family, mostly withdraw in the middle of the investigation. “They settle the matter on their own and withdraw the case. They tell the police that it is a family matter,” he said.
The DSP said loopholes in the judicial system allowed suspects to go scot-free in honour killing cases where the police themselves become complainant. “The suspects are released by court when families report that they have settled for payment of blood money (compensation),” he said. The DSP mentioned a recent honour killing incident in Rukanpur police station in Rahim Yar Khan and said that two suspects arrested by the police were let off the hook when their mother appeared before the court and said that she did not want to pursue the case. He said the FIR had been registered against the two men for killing their sister on the complaint of a sub inspector, who died during the prosecution.
Lawyer Zain Maulvi told The Tribune refusal of the family to prosecute honour killing cases does not stop the police from going ahead with the prosecution. He said in the Rukanpur case the police could still have pursued with prosecution and left it up to the court to determine whether or not it was a case of honour killing. He said according to Section 311 of the Pakistan Penal Code (tazir after waiver or compounding of right of qisas in qatl-i-amd) the courts could still convict suspects in cases where families settled the matter on their own. “If honour killing is established, the punishment may not be less than 10 years in prison,” he said.
Ta’zir after waiver or compounding of right of qisas
Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 309 or Section 310, where all the walis do not waive or compound the right of qisas, or 121[if] 121 the principle of fasad-fil-arz the Court may, 122 122 having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, punish an offender against whom the right of qisas has been waived or compounded with 123[death or imprisonment for life or] 123 imprisonment of either description for a term of which may extend to fourteen years as ta’zir 124[:] 124
125[ Provided that if the offence has been committed in the name or on the pretext of honour, the imprisonment shall not be less than ten years]. 125
Explanation: For the purpose of this section, the expression fasad-fil-arz shall include the past conduct of the offender, or whether he has any previous convictions, or the brutal or shocking manner in which the offence has been committed which is outrageous to the public conscience, or if the offender is considered a potential danger to the community 126[, or if the offence has been committed in the name or on the pretext of honour] 126.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2012.