Saturday, October 30, 2004

Some Good News for Women in Pakistan

In a move that many human rights and women's rights advocates see as a positive step forward, Pakistan's lower house of Parliament passed legislation that proposes death sentences for certain honor killing cases. According to the New York Times, the proposed bill increases the prison term from seven years to life, and death sentences for the most extreme cases of honor killings. In addition, the bill contains language that increases the punishment for a person who forces a woman into marriage to ten years in jail, reports the Associated Press.

The bill has to be approved by the upper house of Parliament and signed into law by President Musharraf, but at least this is one step in the right direction. The usual cautions apply, especially the fact that many existing laws about honor killings in other countries with the same problem are not properly enforced. There should be a simultaneous education campaign if these laws are expected to become an acknowledged part of the legal system.