Pak MPs Toughen “Honor” Killings Penalty

Pak MPs Toughen “Honor” Killings PenaltyPak MPs Toughen “Honor” Killings Penalty

Despite objections from religious hardliners, lawmakers on Thursday took the first significant move to curb mounting numbers of "honor" killings in Pakistan, stiffening the penalties and closing a loophole that allowed such killers to go free.

Public outrage has been growing in Pakistan in the wake of a string of particularly gruesome slayings.

More than 1,000 women were killed last year in so-called honor killings in Pakistan, often by fathers, brothers or husbands who believed the victims had tainted the family name by marrying the man of her choice, or even meeting or being seen sitting with a man, AP reported.

Those who carry out such killings are almost never punished. In accordance with Shariah law, Pakistan's legal code since the 1990s has allowed families of victims to forgive the killer. Since the killers in these cases are usually close relatives, the family almost always forgives them.

The measure passed on Thursday imposes a mandatory 25-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of killing in the name of honor and bans family members from forgiving them.

Relatives can only forgive an honor killer who has been condemned to death, in which case the sentence is commuted to prison.

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