Reuters International

Social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch, who was strangled in what appeared to be an "honour killing," in Multan, Pakistan, is pictured in a selfie on her Facebook page. Qandeel Baloch/Facebook/via Reuters/Files


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's parliament unanimously passed legislation against "honour killings" three months after the high-profile murder of an outspoken social media star.

A joint session of the lower and upper houses of parliament, broadcast live on television, approved the new anti-honour killing law, removing a loophole in existing law that allows family members to pardon a killer.

"Laws are supposed to guide better behaviour, not allow destructive behaviour to continue with impunity," former senator Sughra Imam, who initially tabled the bill, told media.

Some 500 women are killed each year in Pakistan at the hands of family members over perceived damage to "honour" that can involve eloping, fraternizing with men or any other infraction against conservative values that govern women's modesty.

In a majority of cases, the victim is a woman and the killer is a relative who escape punishment by seeking forgiveness for the crime from family members.

(Reporting by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Ralph Boulton)


 Reuters International