Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) plans to pass long-delayed legislation against “honor killings” within weeks in the wake of the high-profile murder of an outspoken social media star, the daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday.
The bill will proceed before a parliamentary committee said Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who’s an increasingly powerful person in her dad’s ruling party.
The law would remove a loophole that enables a killer to be pardoned by other members of the family.
Some 500 women are killed annually in Pakistan over sensed damage to “honour” that can include eloping, fraternizing with guys or another infraction against conservative principles that regulate girls’s modesty.
Maryam Nawaz Sharif said the authorities had been negotiating with religious parties in parliament and needed to pass the law.
“We have finalised the draft law in the light of negotiations,” she told Reuters in an interview. “The final draft will be presented to a committee of joint session of parliament on July 21 for consideration and approval.”
A spokesman for Jamaat e Islami, among the two leading religious parties in parliament, said his party wouldn’t oppose the bill.
Pakistan’s other principal religious political party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, cannot be reached for comment but it’s just a few seats in parliament.
Laws empowering girls have been opposed by both religious parties.
The upper house of parliament passed the bill but it lapsed after the authorities did not put it up because it was preoccupied with laws directed at handling economical reforms and security issues.
A senior government official told Reuters the bill was being now backed by all major parties and it was not unlikely to be passed in several weeks by a combined session of parliament.
“The prime minister is taking personal interest,” added a second official and close aide to Sharif. “You will see in coming days more will be done, big changes will be announced.”
In a rare move the authorities became a complainant in law enforcement case against Baloch’s brother accused of her murder, blocking her family and thus designating it a crime against the state.