Pakistan passes legislation against 'honour killings'

Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch's murder was one of the recent cases of honour killings that shocked the country. Photograph:( Others )

Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan Oct 06, 2016, 04.05 PM (IST)

Three months after the murder of Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch, the Pakistan Parliament today passed legislation against "honour killings". 


The new anti-honour killing law was unanimously approved by the lower and upper house of the parliament mandates life imprisonment even if the victim's relatives forgive the murderer, international agency AFP reported. 


This removes a currently existing loophole in the existing law that allows killers to walk free after being pardoned by family members.


"Laws are supposed to guide better behaviour, not allow destructive behaviour to continue with impunity," former senator Sughra Imam, who initially put forward the bill, was quoted as saying by Reuters. 


According to the international news agency, around 500 women are killed each year in the country at the hands of family members over perceived damage to "honour" that can involve eloping, fraternising with men or any other infraction against conservative values relating to women.


Another legislation was passed today by the assembly increasing the punishments for some rape offences, mandating DNA testing and making the rape of a minor or the disabled punishable by life imprisonment or death, AFP reported. 


Rape convictions in the South Asian country are apparently very low due to the law's reliance on circumstantial evidence and a lack of forensic testing, the news agency highlights in its reports. 


Women rights activists have been calling for tougher laws to tackle pepetrators of violence against women in the country. 


(WION with inputs from agencies)