Judicial Patronage of ‘Honor Killings' in Pakistan: The Supreme Court's Persistent Adherence to the Doctrine of Grave and Sudden Provocation
23 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017
Date Written: June 18, 2015
The Supreme Court's approach in Muhammad Ameer suggests a continuing willingness to allow the defense of grave and sudden provocation in most cases of murder committed “in the name or on the pretext of honor”. Certain deficiencies in the structure and ambiguities rooted in the text of the 2004 Act appear to indicate that this Act shall not be given due deference by the Supreme Court. In essence, this will result in Pakistan's superior courts' continuous leniency in the sentencing of honor killings It has become extremely difficult to comprehend, let alone justify, judicial allegiance to grave and sudden provocation in these cases, lately in the face of statutory intervention as well as Islamic law doctrine. This allegiance appears to be rooted in the belief that it is ‘natural’ and ‘moral’ for a man to kill a female relative when his honor is jeopardized because of her, and that it is, therefore, unfair to punish him in these circumstances. This approach negates the use of criminal law as a tool for socio-cultural engineering or for fostering certain progressive attitudes in its subjects. This retrogressive approach will only lead to the loss of more innocent lives, the branding of Pakistan as an extreme is society, and the continual dishonor of Pakistan's Supreme Court. Those who advocate the end of the legal patronage of honor killings in Pakistan ought to prepare themselves for yet another battle.
Keywords: Honor Killings, Pakistan, Supreme Court, Doctrine of Grave and Sudden Provocation
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