ISLAMABAD: The constitutional body that advises the legislature on the compatibility of laws with Islamic sharia is likely to endorse a proposed law against honour killings in the country, The Express Tribune has learnt from a senior official.
A formal announcement will, however, be made by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) once the draft on the Honour Killing Bill 2016 is tabled in parliament, added the official who works at the council’s secretariat.
“Apparently, a parliamentary panel has already addressed the reservations voiced by the CII,” the official said while requesting anonymity. “I think the council’s objections have been taken care of.”
The CII has already ruled against crimes committed in the name of honour. Nonetheless, it has objected to one of the clauses of the proposed law which, it believes, is repugnant to Islamic injunctions.
The clause proposes that honour killing be declared a non-compoundable offence. The CII, however, says negation of a ‘compromise’ between the accused and the victim’s family is un-Islamic because it is permissible in sharia.
A CII member, Abdullah, said honour killing has been accepted as a compoundable offence in the proposed law but it will be the prerogative of the judge hearing the case to accept or reject a compromise “which is good”.
Abdullah, who has also served as chief secretary of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, says the judge should have the power to determine whether or not a compromise is acceptable. “The judge will have to make sure the compromise has not been reached under duress by the accused party.”
While serving as chief secretary Abdullah had seen several cases where the victim’s family was either coerced or lured with money into a compromise. And the judges had no option but to accept it.
Meanwhile, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, who has been instrumental in pushing the proposed law, told The Express Tribune that the views of Islamic scholars and clerics have been accommodated by the parliamentary committee that has drafted the bill. “We have satisfied them [Ulema],” he added.
About a proposed 25-year jail term in honour killing cases, Senator Babar said the law would not allow any remission to the convict in his/her imprisonment. “The convict will not be entitled to any remission and he/she will have to complete 25 years in jail.”
According to some legal experts, the provincial governments will have to make amendments in their jail manuals to deprive the right of remission to the convicts of honour killing offence. However, Abdullah believes there will be no need to amend the jail manual to deny the convicts remissions. “All it needs will be an executive order.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2016.