Saturday September 18, 2021

Law needs drastic changes

Islamabad:The recent fierce murder and beheading young woman Noor Mukadam by a criminal minded stalker and sex offender has shown that there is a dire need for new law prohibiting stalking, chasing and harassing the persons, especially women.

The law professionals suggest drastic changes in Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to control the deteriorating situation of law and order in the country, specially, in heinous offences of criminal law including premeditated murder of Noor Mukadam.

The law should be drafted on the basis of similar law in the civilised countries in maintaining the database of such persons involved in sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). A similar law has been passed through an Ordinance approved by the President of Pakistan, wherein Special Courts will be constituted, specially designated judges will be appointed and Anti-Rape Crises Centres (ARCC) will be established and legal assistance will be provided to the rape victims, in the cases of molestation of minor children.

“To ensure expeditious redressal of rape and sexual abuse crimes in respect of women and children through special investigation teams and special court providing for efficacious procedures, speedy trials, evidence and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto;” indicated in the draft of the Presidential Ordinance which is yet to approve by Parliament.

According to the Presidential Ordinance, this law will be ensured in camera trial of the case and complete protection would be provided to the victims and witnesses will be made certain. The law also provides that registration of “sex offender” shall be established by the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA), however, two roadblocks in this law, firstly, the provincial police organisations are neither aware about the law nor enforcing it or could register first information report (FIR) under this law as this law is made up by the President of Pakistan.

Another ambiguity appears in the law, is that this law covers the rape but not drapes gender base murders; however, the section 302 PPC is compoundable as the ways are open for conciliation between the aggressor and the victim parties after paying settled compensation to the victims.

The offence of murder is compoundable and it is contained in the list of the offence against person, a law expert said when asked. This is obvious that the recently introduced law is flexible and negotiable but the police experts dealing with such sensitive and monstrous offences suggest composing of a hard-nosed law to control rising trend of such heinous nature of offences, saying that the evocative law should be made gender based murder but should not be compoundable like honour killing and it should be treated as crime against the

State, not against a person. In order to make sure the murder offenders do not get away by paying compensation to the victims or their families or by resorting to continue social pressure on the victim’s families to end the controversy develop because of the legal brawl and pressurise to withdraw their charges against the accuse party.

The legal connoisseurs said that in the current legal framework, all sorts of murders, committed due to any motive, are compoundable due to alteration in the law book made in Zia’s era, even, since the British and Indian regimes and even after creation of Pakistan, premeditated murder (302 PPC) was offence against the State and the murder offender used to get severe punishment leading to life imprisonment or capital punishment (death sentence) irrespective of the economic, social or political back grounds, adding that the archetypal example of such trial was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto trial.

The legal experts proposed that the offence should be categorised after assessing its gravity of act of killing, adding that the premeditated murder, as Noor Mukadam murder should not be compoundable.