Pakistan

LAHORE – A Lahore-based man who murdered his daughter and her boyfriend in honour killing has been allowed to go free after he pardoned himself and his accomplices infront of a judge.

Faqeer Muhammad was accused of shooting dead his daughter Kiran Bibi and her alleged suitor Ghulam Abbas, for honour due to their relationship in 2014.

He was then brought to court  as Kiran’s mother lodged an application against him. Faqeer admitted the murder with his son, Muhammad Illyas and nephew Muhammad Tahir.
But here, the family harnessed a legal loophole to help accused walk free from the case

As Muhammad and the daughter’s mother Azmat Bibi were the legal heirs to the girl they could pardon anyone accused of killing her so Mrs Bibi and another son Waqas then lodged an application to have Faqeer (Kiran’s father) pardoned, which he agreed to and was accepted by the court as the new law cannot be applied retrospectively.

After the acquittal, parents of Kiran took a mile more and utilised another legal right cum flaw to pardon the accomplices Tahir and Ilyas.

The father of deceased in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Nadia Ikram Malik stated : ‘The deceased, Kiran Bibi, was my real daughter. She was a spinster at the time of her murder. There are no other legal heirs of the deceased except her mother, Bushra Bibi, and me”.

‘I have forgiven the accused persons in the name of Almighty Allah, and have no objection to their acquittal. I also waive my right of Qisas (retribution) and Diyat (blood money).’

And even though the prosecutor argued they had evidence against Muhammad and his accomplices the case was dropped much to everyone’s dismay due to no chance of conviction.

Interestingly, the Anti-Honour Killing Law (Criminal Amendment Bill) 2015 which was recently given go ahead by parliament was meant to stiffen the penalty for convicted “honour” killer closing the legal flaws citing the burgeoning cases.

The law gives a mandatory 25 years in prison to anyone convicted of killing in the name of honour and no longer allows family members to forgive such killers.

However, the unique pardon has rattled the legal experts who are raising questions over the authority of an accused murderer to pardon himself.

Reflecting the decision Court advocate Muhammad Qasim told a leading  newspaper: ‘It is astonishing that an accused is forgiving himself for murder charges. It is nothing but a joke with law.’