Pakistan cracks down on honour killings

Qandeel Baloch (Facebook)
Qandeel Baloch (Facebook)

Perpetrators of honour killings in Pakistan now face a mandatory life sentence after a loophole allowing them to go free was closed by the nation's government.

Previously, killers could avoid a sentence if a victim's family granted a pardon. Now, new legislation means forgiveness will only save them from the death penalty.

In Pakistan, "karo-kari" has occurred when a family member believes someone has brought dishonour on a family. In most cases the victim of killings are female, and the attackers, blaming infidelity, are usually male members of her family.

It's being hailed as a step forward in the country, where according to the Independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, nearly 1,100 women were killed by relatives in 2015.

It comes after the killing of Pakistani celebrity Qandeel Baloch in July, who was allegedly strangled to death by her brother.

Pakistan's National Assembly unanimously voted for the law on Thursday after four hours of debate.