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Pakistan's Dishonor Killings

Will the New Crime Bill Work?

An internally displaced woman, fleeing a military offensive in the Swat valley region, May 28, 2009. Ali Imam / Reuters

Over this year’s scorching summer, Pakistan witnessed some of the most gruesome attacks on women and girls that it had seen in a long time. Some victims were burned to death, and others were strangled, poisoned, or shot. The most high-profile case was the murder of a social media star, Qandeel Baloch, who was strangled to death by her brother “for dishonoring the Baloch name.” Under Pakistani law, the perpetrators of such crimes can be acquitted if they are forgiven by the victim’s family members. But with new legislation passed earlier this month, that policy has begun to change.

Starting earlier this year, the Pakistani parliament, of which I am a member, has worked to block acquittals in crimes of honor. Popularly called “the anti-honor crime bill,” the measure was passed unanimously after a long debate. The new law does mark progress, but it does not go far

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