On Thursday 7 November 2019, Professors Hiba Akbar and Angbeen Mirza hosted Sohail Akbar Warraich, member of the National Commission on the Status of Women, for a talk at SAHSOL. Warraich spoke to students of criminal law about the evolution of Qisas and Diyat laws and its loopholes, as demonstrated by their application to honour crimes. Tracing the evolution of the law on murder, Qisas and Diyat from the Gul Hassan case to the latest amendments of 2016 and their aftermath, Warraich drew attention to the loopholes created by legislation, its desultory application and conflicting interpretation by court. Most interestingly, he drew attention to the role of culture and patriarchal biases as a driving force behind the law’s inconsistent application to matters of honour killings. Making note of the most recent amendments in the law, and case law on the question of ‘grave and sudden provocation,’ Warraich pointed to the remaining hurdles in the application of these laws.
Sohail Akbar Warraich is a freelance researcher, writer, trainer, farmer and women rights activist. He has been working for over 30 years on law and policy reform relating to personal status laws and issues of violence against women. He is the author of the chapter “Honour Killings and the Law in Pakistan” in Honour Crimes, Paradigms and Violence Against Women, edited by Dr. Lynn Welchman and Sarah Hosain (Zed Books, 2005).