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Thursday May 23, 2024

Man ‘who killed sister’ acquitted after being pardoned by their father

By Yousuf Katpar
April 16, 2024
This representational image shows a person holding a gavel. — Pexels/File
This representational image shows a person holding a gavel. — Pexels/File

A sessions court has acquitted a man accused of killing his sister in the name of ‘honour’ after he reached an out-of-court settlement with his (or their) father.

Hakeem Khan had been charged with shooting dead his sister Safia with his licensed pistol at their residence in Defence Housing Authority Phase VI within the jurisdiction of the Darakhshan police station in May 2023.

The accused and his father Ghazi Khan had moved an application before Additional Sessions Judge-III (South) Ashraf Hussain Khowaja under the Section 345 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) seeking permission to compound the offence.

The judge pronounced his order after hearing arguments from both sides, exonerating Hakeem from the murder charge. He observed that after the persual of the case record, it appeared the offence was a compoundable one and the complainant was the sole legal heir of the victim, who was unmarried, and her mother had already passed away.

"Hence, the required permission under the Section 345 (2) of the CrPC is hereby granted to complainant and accused to compromise the offence," ruled the judge. The accused was already out on bail.

The victim's father testified that he had forgiven his son in the name of God and would have no objection if he was acquitted in the present case. "On the basis of misunderstanding and sudden provocation, the FIR was lodged but later on when the accused came out and put the real story before the complainant, both parties compromised and accused patched up the dispute and reached amicable settlement," read the application.

The state prosecutor did not raise any objection to the compromise plea. According to the prosecution, on May 14, 2023, the accused shot and killed his sister Safia because she wanted to marry of her own free will against the wishes of her family. An FIR was lodged under the sections 302 (murder) and 311 (fasad-fil-arz) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Under the Section 311, the trial court has powers to punish an offender in an honour-related offence even if he or she is forgiven by legal heirs of a deceased person. However, legal experts point out that a person could not be sentenced under the Section 311 until he is found guilty of the offence of honour-killing, which is an uphill task given the low standards of investigation and unwillingness of family members to cooperate in such cases.