Parliamentary committee reviews bills regarding anti-honour killing

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Meeting of the Parliamentary Committee of the Joint Sitting was held on Friday to discuss and finalise two bills on the anti-honour killing laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) bill, 2015, and the anti-rape laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) bill 2015.

Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid chaired the meeting of parliamentary committee attended by representatives of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jammiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) which examined the two bills as passed by the senate.

Two private members’ bills on anti-rape as tabled by Women’s Parliamentary Caucus Secretary MNA Shaista Pervaiz Malik and as moved by the former senator Sughra Imam and passed by the senate were extensively examined together by the Ministry of Law and Justice. The proposed amendments in the two bills, after careful review by the ministry, were retained, dropped or amalgamated in the committee meeting. The ministry for law and justice proposed its amendments to the bill that were accepted after thorough deliberations.

During the meeting, MNA Naeema Kishwer Khan of JUI (F) and an active member of the WPC, representing her party leader, underscored the need to ensure that the language of the bill must be gender neutral to include all segments of the society, including transgender, who are equally sexually exploited. Her proposal was accepted and the language of the bill will now include the terms ‘person’ or ‘victim’ instead of ‘woman’. The bill further includes, for the first time, DNA test in cases of rape that would ensure that the accused cannot go scot free. It also seeks severe punishments for anyone revealing the identity of the rape victim so as to ensure protection from societal stigmatization.

The two bills had earlier been deferred in the joint sitting of the two houses of the parliament on account of certain reservations of some political parties. MNA Shaista Pervaiz Malik was invited to the meeting as a mover of her bill in the National Assembly. The report of the committee shall be tabled before the joint sitting of the two houses of the parliament being convened shortly.