The honour killing bill

Pakistan on Thursday passed laws to increase sentences for rapists and those who commit so-called honour killings of women, and closed a loophole that allowed many of the killers to go free Goof development.

But it hurts that only about a third of the 446 lawmakers attended the session, but debate was raucous, with the loudest opposition coming from hard-line Islamists. Senator Hafiz Hamdullah said parliament should instead address elopements by women, claiming 17,000 had done so since 2014.

He echoed a stance taken by many hard-liners that the law is bringing Western-style independence for women. "Why don't we see what are the reasons behind such killings? Why are girls eloping from their homes? They are trying to impose Western culture over here. We will not allow (it)," he said.

Conservatives even demanded that the Islamic Ideology Council, a body of conservative Muslim clerics, weigh in on the bill before the vote. Yes the same council that once ruled it was permissible for a man to "lightly" beat his wife.

It's a shame that honor killings are rooted so deep in traditions by which a family's honour is bound up with a woman's chastity. Killings met with acceptance, even approval, by neighbours and relatives.

2200 hours
Monday 10 October 2016

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