Nawaz Sharif, daughter of the Prime Minister of Pakistan said that Pakistan’s ruling party was expected to pass a legislation against “honour killings” in the next few weeks.
The bill went before a parliamentary committee on Thursday, in wake of the high profile murder of the outspoken social media star and model, Qandeel Baloc.
Baloc, popularly known as the Kim Kardashian of Pakistan was killed on Saturday by her brother, Muhammad Waseem for her controversial lifestyle.
Following her death, the government had faced mounting pressure to pass the law against murders carried out by people professing to be acting in defence of the honour of their family.
The law would remove a loophole that allowed other family members to pardon a killer.
Waseem who had been arrested in connection with his sisters strangling death told a news conference he was incensed by her often risqué posts on social media.
About 500 women are reported to be killed each year in Pakistan at the hands of family members over perceived damage to “honour”.
These cases involved eloping, fraternising with men or any other infraction against conservative values that govern women’s modesty.
Sharif said the government wanted to pass the law unanimously and had been negotiating with religious parties in parliament.
“We have finalised the draft law in the light of negotiations.
“The final draft will be presented to a committee of joint session of parliament on July 21, for consideration and approval,” she said.
Sharif said once the parliamentary committee approved the bill, it would be presented for a vote in a “couple of weeks” before a joint session of parliament.
A Spokesman for Jamaat-e-Islami, one of the two major religious parties in parliament, said his party would not oppose the bill.
Pakistan’s other main religious political party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, could not be reached for comment but it had only a small number of seats in parliament.
Both religious parties had traditionally opposed legislation empowering women.
The upper house of parliament passed the bill in 2014, but it lapsed after the government failed to put it up for a vote in the lower house due to its focus on security and economic problems.
A senior government official told Reuters all major parties were now backing the bill and it was likely to be passed in a few weeks by a joint session of parliament.
“The prime minister is taking personal interest.”
“You will see in coming days more will be done, big changes will be announced,’’ said a close aide to Sharif.
In a rare move, the government became a complainant in the police case against Baloch’s brother accused of her murder, designating it a crime against the state and thereby blocking her family from forgiving their son. (NAN/Reuters)