Parliamentary Secretary for Law Maleeka Bokhari has said that the government is reviewing the Lahore High Court (LHC)‘s acquittal of Qandeel Baloch’s brother Waseem, whose conviction and life sentence was overturned last week.
“The State is undertaking a review of legal options in the Qandeel Baloch case in light of law [and Supreme Court] judgments,” the PTI MNA said in a post on Twitter. “Honour killings of women [and] girls is a black mark on our society. Law was amended to ensure murderer of women, whether a ‘celebrity’ or ordinary woman does not walk free.”
Waseem’s acquittal and the subsequent cancellation of his life sentence shocked and disappointed many across the country who had viewed his conviction as an expression of justice, however futile, for Qandeel.
Sources close to the case claimed that state was ‘not interested‘ in pursuing the murder case after Qandeel’s brother filed an appeal against his conviction. Sources further claimed that the state, despite being party to the case, was only active until the conviction of the murderer in 2019 and then lost interest — which is why no effort was made to ensure that the convict completes his sentence.
Following Qandeel’s death, Parliament passed into law the Anti-Honour Killing Law (Criminal Amendment Bill) 2015, supposedly tightening a former loophole which had allowed the families of the victims of ‘honour killings’ to grant the perpetrator forgiveness in lieu of a criminal conviction. However, last week Qandeel’s mother apparently submitted an affidavit requesting Waseem’s release as part of his appeal, telling the court that she had forgiven her daughter’s murderer, her son.