Pakistan parliament passes legislation against ‘honor killings’

Pakistani human rights activists hold placards as they chant slogans during a protest in Islamabad on May 29, 2014 against the killing of pregnant woman Farzana Parveen was beaten to death with bricks by members of her own family for marrying a man of her own choice in Lahore. (AFP)

Pakistan’s parliament unanimously passed legislation against “honor killings” three months after the high-profile murder of an outspoken social media star.

A joint session of the lower and upper houses of parliament, broadcast live on television, approved the new anti-honor killing law, removing a loophole in existing law that allows family members to pardon a killer.

“Laws are supposed to guide better behavior, not allow destructive behavior to continue with impunity,” former senator Sughra Imam, who initially tabled the bill, told media.

Some 500 women are killed each year in Pakistan at the hands of family members over perceived damage to “honor” that can involve eloping, fraternizing with men or any other infraction against conservative values that govern women's modesty.

In a majority of cases, the victim is a woman and the killer is a relative who escape punishment by seeking forgiveness for the crime from family members.

Last Update: 06:50 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50