On Monday (September 7,2020), the Supreme Court of Pakistan observed that extremism and violence have permeated through Pakistani society and it has been brutalized. The Supreme Court has declared that the punishment prescribed in section 302 (c) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) could not be given in an honor killing case. The court also said that the word ‘ghairat’ should not be used in such cases.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa read the 14-page landmark ruling, “Parliament was rightly concerned with the prevalence of such killing and enacted legislation to dissuade, if not stop such crimes. It did so by ensuring that offenders do not avail of the benefit of section 302 (c) of the PPC, for which the maximum punishment is 25 years imprisonment, but which does not prescribe a minimum punishment.” Jail petition filed by Mohammed Abbas in which the Court gave the verdict who was awarded the death sentence by a session judge in Nankana for the murder of his wife. But the Lahore High Court reduced his death sentence into life imprisonment. A division bench of the apex court which is led by Justice Isa refused to grant leave to appeal for further reducing his sentence under section 302 (c) PPC wherein the punishment is less than the death sentence and life imprisonment.
The verdict read that, “Pakistan has one of the highest, if not highest per capita honor killing in the world and predominantly the victims are women.” By stating that murder was committed on the pretext of ghairat (honor) the murderer hopes to provide some justification with the crime. It may also elevate the murderer’s social status with those not familiar with what Almighty Allah commands in the holy Quran. This is unfortunate, more so because there is no honor such killings. According to the judgment, Parliament had specifically stipulated that such crimes of honor killing attracted clause (a) or clause (b) of section 302 of PPC, for which the punishment was either death or imprisonment for life. Justice Isa noted that “killing is never honorable and a murder should not be categorized as such. It will help deter such killings if the term ghairat is not used to describe them. Further, he added that it is also inaccurate to translate ghairat into English as honor. The word ghairat does not have an exact English equivalent. A more accurate translation of the trait of ghairat would be ‘arrogance’ and the one with such trait is an ‘arrogant’ person. It was noted that it was thus clear that such allegation must not be made lightly and on the basis of mere suspicion. It also observed that modern false allegation of adultery what’s update understand offenses. The judgment read that, the holy Quran also does not permit killing on the ground of adultery, let alone on the ground of ghairat, nor prescribes a lesser punishment for such killings. The law Pakistan also does not permit this. It is inappropriate to interpret chapter XVI of the PPC, which includes section 302 PPC, by disregarding the requirements of section 338-F PPC, which necessitates seeking guidance from the Holy Quran and Sunnah. [READ ORDER]