Man accused of murdering daughter spared jail after 'pardoning himself in court'

Man 'forgives' himself in court for alleged crimes against own family

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The Independent Online

A father from Pakistan who allegedly shot dead his daughter and her lover to “save family honour” was acquitted after he was allowed to pardon himself for the deaths, in a ruling condemned by legal experts.

Faqeer Muhammad stood accused of killing Kiran Bibi and her alleged lover, Ghulam Abbas, in 2014, with the help of his son Muhammad Illya and nephew Muhammad Tahir.

Mr Muhammad and his wife Bushra Bibi reportedly recorded themselves as legal heirs to their deceased daughter in court.

This allowed Mr Muhammad to ‘pardon himself’ for the crime against his family and set in motion an application for acquittal, despite the fact that he was the accused.

“The deceased, Kiran Bibi, was my real daughter,” he told the court in Lahore according to Express Tribune. “She was unmarried at the time of her murder. There are no other legal heirs of the deceased except her mother, Bushra Bibi, and me.

“I have forgiven the accused persons in the name of Almighty Allah, and have no objection to their acquittal.”

Despite having originally raised the complaint herself, Mr Abbas’ mother Azmat Bibi later also requested that the judge allow the accused men to be acquitted.

Mrs Bibi and her son Waqas Ali then proceeded to pardon the accused and said they had no objection to their acquittal.

The prosecution protested, arguing that further evidence should be summoned in spite of the withdrawal of the complaint, but the judge ruled the charges had become “groundless” as there was “no chance of conviction at all” following the pardonings from both families.

Pakistan's Anti-Honour Killing Law, which was finally passed in October following a year of deliberations, stipulates an honour crime convict should receive a life sentence in prison, even if a family member pardons them.

The law was intended to close a loophole which allowed honour crimes to be viewed as compoundable offences - letting complainants who are legal guardians have charges dropped against the accused.

However, because the alleged incident took place in 2014, the new law did not apply in this case as it cannot be applied retrospectively, the judge argued.

Lawyers across India condemned the ruling. One lawyer Muhammad Qasim who works in Chiniot, Pakistan was quoted by the Express Tribune as saying that it “astonishing” that an accused faced with murder charges was allowed to forgive himself in court.