Qandeel Murder Investigation: Family May Still Have Standing Over State

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 6:14:24 by

The government move to make itself a complainant in the murder case of social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch has been seen by legal experts as an effort to eliminate any fears that legal heirs may pardon or forgive the killer/brother at a later stage of the trial.

Police included Section 311  (Ta’zir after waiver or compounding of the right of qisas in qatl-i-amd) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) in the FIR alongside Section 302. The decision to add Section 311 is perceived as a move to make the case a non-reconcilable one.

Waseem Azeem confessed to killing his sister (Qandeel) in the name of ‘honor’.

According to criminal law experts, the government’s actions will fail in affecting the right of wali or complainant in pardoning the killer. In the present case, Qandeel’s father is the main complainant. They added that the state, under the law, always acts as an essential party in every criminal case in order to prosecute the offenders.

Advocate Asad Jamal mentioned that the state can become legal heir or wali only if the victim has no family to act as a representative. In Qandeel’s murder case, her parents are alive, he says, maintaining that they can still forgive their son (killer).

He further went on to say that once the suspect confesses to the commission of a crime and the court goes on to admit such evidence under Section 304 of the PPC, which deals with proof of qatl-i-amd liable to qisas, thus making qisas applicable.

Furthermore, he stated that waiver (forgiveness without consideration or diyat) or reconciliation (compromise because of payment of diyat, for instance) of the offense is likely unless the court declares the criminal act as fasad-fil-arz. In such a case, the court can deliver a minimum punishment of 10 years of imprisonment as ta’azir.

Even in honor killing cases, he said that the court can still hand down death or imprisonment for life as ta’azir.

The state’s major duty, under the present law, is to prosecute criminals, according to Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar. He added that private individuals are allowed to prosecute but not exclusively.

He claimed that the role of the state as complainant in a criminal case will not affect the wali’s right to pardon. However, he says, the wali’s right to forgive a killer is not absolute but subject to the approval of the court.

Also voicing his opinion, Advocate Aftab Bajwa regards the government’s move as pointless, as the trial court has the jurisdiction to adjudicate on whether a criminal act falls within the definition of fasad-fil-arz under Section 311 of the PPC. He believes that it is a simple murder case with a punishment attached as per Section 302 of the PPC.

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