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Pakistan passes anti-honour killing, anti-rape bills

Islamabad, Oct 6 (IANS) Pakistan on Thursday passed anti-honour killing and anti-rape bills, months after the ‘honour’ killing of social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch.

The bills moved by PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar were approved unanimously by a joint session of Parliament, Dawn.com reported.

The legislation on honour killings will introduce strict punishment for the convicts, making it tougher than the ordinary murder cases.

Under the new law, relatives of the victim would only be able to pardon the killer if he is sentenced to capital punishment. However, the culprit would still face a mandatory life sentence of twelve-and-a-half years.

Before moving the Anti-Rape Bill, Babar informed the joint session: “The bill will prove to be effective in curbing rape cases across the country.”

Debating during the session, Law Minister Zaid Hamid revealed that the perpetrator of the crime will also be medically examined after this bill is turned into a law.

“The verdicts in the rape cases will have to be given within three months, with the right to appeal in six months,” he added.

“The police station will be obliged to inform the victims of their legal rights,” Dawn.com quoted Hamid as saying, adding, “We have made it mandatory that the culprit must be imprisoned for 25 years.”

He said that rape of minors, as well as the mentally and physically ill, has also become punishable.

In July, days after the ‘honour’ killing of social media celebrity Baloch, a committee comprising lawmakers from both the lower and upper houses of parliament unanimously approved two bills aimed at tackling ‘honour’ killings and boosting rape convictions.

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