KARACHI: Amnesty International on Tuesday called on Pakistan to end impunity for so-called ‘honour’ killings and other violence against women.
“The tragic killing of Qandeel Baloch, at the hands of her brother, has highlighted the need for urgent action to protect women and men from crimes that are justified as a defence of family honour.”
It welcomed the decision of Punjab authorities to register Qandeel Baloch’s murder as a crime against the state, and refuse her family the legal right to grant their son clemency.
“This needs to become the rule rather than the exception. Pakistan needs to undertake structural reforms that end impunity for so-called ‘honour’ killings, including by passing legislation that removes the option of clemency for such killings without resorting to the death penalty as a punishment,” said Champa Patel.
Qandeel Baloch’s brother has confessed to strangling his sister to death during her sleep on July 15, triggering global outrage.
Under Pakistan’s current laws, the family of a murder victim may pardon the perpetrator, including on payment of compensation known as ‘diyat’ or ‘blood money’.
In cases of so-called honour killings, where members of the victim’s own family are responsible for the crime, the perpetrator may be pardoned by their own family and not face imprisonment or any other punishments.
“By failing to hold perpetrators of so-called ‘honour’ killings accountable for their crimes, the Pakistani state has been forfeiting its duty to the victims and letting a climate of impunity take reign,” said Champa Patel.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2016.