A joint session of Pakistan’s parliament on Thursday unanimously passed anti-rape and anti-honour killing Bills, Dawn reported. Both Bills introduce stricter punishments for the perpetrators of such crimes, including those convicted of the sexual assault of minors and the mentally and/or physical ill.
The anti-honour killing legislation will only let the relatives of a victim issue a pardon if a killer is sentenced to death. The person who commits the crime will still have to serve a mandatory life sentence of twelve-and-a-half years.
Pakistani Law Minister Zaid Hamid said verdicts in cases of rape “will have to be given within three months with the right to appeal in six”. He added that police stations “will be obliged to inform the victims of their legal rights” and that those convicted of such crimes will be “imprisoned for 25 years”.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised to ensure the “implementation of the legislation across the country”. “I congratulate the Parliament, the NGOs, civil society, academia, media and all those who worked hard and supported us in the passage of this legislation,” he said.
The Bills were passed almost three months after actor-cum-model Qandeel Baloch was murdered by her brother in a case of honour killing on July 16. Baloch had first become famous through her self-promotion and selfies posted on social media. She had tens of thousands of followers who praised her forthright attitude. Baloch’s father Mohammed Azeem filed a case against his son, and also said that another one of his sons encouraged Baloch's brother Waseem Azeem to carry out the killing.