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Justice for Qandeel

As expected, the parents of slain social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch have sought the acquittal of their two sons, accused of killing her, from the murder charges on the old grounds of pardoning them. The trial court in Multan, where the trial is ongoing, has rejected her parents’ plea. The slain model deserves justice. She was killed to uphold tribal honour by her brothers in 2016. The parents took the cover of laws allowing complainants to pardon offenders in honour related case. The government revoked such laws back in 2015 and introduced Anti-Honour Killing Laws (Criminal Amendment Bill), 2015, which leave no room for pardoning perpetrators in such cases. In this case, the defence counsel said the law was passed several months after the murder of Qandeel, which means the period of 2016 could not come under the anti-honour killing laws.
It must be a great relief that the court did not buy the argument and turned down the plea to accept complainant’s pardon “in the name of Allah”. For decades, such laws have allowed the killings of people, mostly women, in the name of honour. In such cases, most of the time, the perpetrator is a family member, so waivers are easily available from the complainant, also an immediate family member of the victim. Viewing the scale of honour-related crimes, the government amended the laws introducing preventive legislation, like making the state a complainant in honour killings. When Anti-Honour Killing Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act was passed in October 2016, it was hailed as a great success to prevent honour killings and a step forward for justice for Qandeel. The case was widely reported across the globe and complainants and alleged perpetrators both stated that the model was killed for honour. For the last three years, the case is being dragged on for one reason or another. The judicial system has seen many reforms under incumbent Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, which aim at speedy conclusion of cases. Such progressive steps must be seen protecting the lives of vulnerable segments of our society.
Unfortunately, honour-related crimes are still being committed in our part of the world. A large number of such cases is also not reported as both society and administration treat them as ‘family matters’. The early conclusion of the Qandeel case would be a step towards the prevention of yet more honor killings in the country.



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